The Niagara County Department of Health is holding a free rabies clinic at the City of North Tonawanda Public Works Department, 758 Erie Ave., from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 10.
All appointments are by reservation only. Visit www.niagaracounty.com/health, click on the “Rabies Information” icon and follow the link under rabies clinic to register. Those unable to register online may call 716-439-7444 for assistance. Once appointment slots have filled, registration for this event will close.
Rabies vaccination clinics have returned to “walk-thru” to accommodate as many pets/pet owners as possible. They operated as “drive-thru” during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
New York state requires all residents to maintain active rabies vaccination for their dog, cat or ferret. An animal’s first vaccination is valid for one year, and any subsequent vaccination provides protection for three years.
The Niagara County Department of Health would like to remind residents of the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies from wildlife and domestic animals:
√ Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats.
√ Be sure dogs and cats are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans. Protect pets with rabies vaccination to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive their first rabies vaccine are protected for a one-year period. A dog or cat’s second and subsequent vaccination will protect from rabies for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. By law, all cats, dogs and ferrets must have current rabies vaccinations from 4 months of age and on. The Niagara County Department of Health will conduct free rabies clinics and will post those dates on its website once the schedule is finalized.
√ Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
√ Don’t attract wild animals to a home or yard. Keep property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to the attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap chimneys with a screen.
√ Encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animals. Tell children not to touch any animals they do not know.
√ If a wild animal is on one’s property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors that are outside. Contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee; or if there is danger, call the local law enforcement agency.
√ If a pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call a veterinarian. A vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely euthanized.
√ Bat rabies continues to be of particular concern. Niagara County residents must remain aware of the risk for rabies from any contact with a bat. Once illness occurs, rabies is almost always fatal. However, timely and complete post-exposure treatment is effective at preventing illness from occurring. If one finds a bat in their home, it is important not to injure, release or discard it. Immediately contact the NCDOH environmental health division at 716-439-7444 to discuss the specifics of the situation or occurrence. For more information on bat rabies, to include instruction on proper capturing and containment of a bat for testing, go to https://www.niagaracounty.com/departments/a-f/environmental_health/pest_control/bats.php.
√ Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the NCDOH environmental division at 716-439-7444. Further information on rabies can be obtained from the NCDOH at 716-439-7444 or https://www.niagaracounty.com/departments/a-f/environmental_health/rabies/index.php.