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News Release    

June 22, 2010      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Dutchess County to Host Free Rabies Clinic for Pets

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced a clinic will be held to provide FREE rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and ferrets.  The clinic will be hosted by the Dutchess County Department of Health on Thursday, July 8th from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the Dover Highway Garage located at 126 East Duncan Hill Road in Dover Plains (behind the Dover Town Hall.)   

County Executive Steinhaus said, “This is a great opportunity for residents to ensure their families’ pets are safe from rabies.  Pet owners can make sure their animals have up-to-date vaccinations at no cost out of pocket.”

Dutchess County residents will be able to obtain rabies shots free of charge for their dogs and cats, as well as domestic ferrets, at least 3 months of age. Non-Residents will be charged $10 for each pet vaccinated.

In order to ensure the safety of pets, owners, and clinic staff, all dogs must be on leashes. Additionally, cats and domestic ferrets must be in a carrier. This vaccination will be good for three years for pets with proof of a prior immunization. For those pets without proof of previous vaccination, it will be good for one year.

In New York State, rabies shots are required for all cats, dogs, and domestic ferrets by the age of four months. Owners can be fined up to $200 if they fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep them up-to-date.

If a pet is found to not be current on its rabies vaccinations and it bites someone, the law requires the owner to either have the pet destroyed and tested for rabies; or confine the pet at the owner’s expense at an appropriate facility such as a veterinary hospital, kennel, or shelter for a ten-day observation period to ensure that it is healthy and does not have rabies. Currently vaccinated pets that bite someone may be confined and observed from home in most cases.

If a rabid or suspect-rabid animal fights with a pet that is not up-to-date on its rabies immunizations, the pet must be promptly destroyed or placed in quarantine for six months to protect other animals and people in case the pet develops rabies. Neither of these is required for a vaccinated pet in the same situation, only a booster dose of vaccine within 5 days is required.

Dutchess County’s rabies clinics are held three times a year at locations that rotate throughout the county.   In March, more than 160 pets were vaccinated at the clinic held at Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

The Dutchess County Department of Health is available around the clock to help anyone who may have been exposed to rabies or who has questions about the disease. Residents with urgent inquiries may call (845) 431-6465 if an incident occurs after business hours, and (845) 486-3404 during normal business hours.

To learn more about pet vaccination clinic schedules or other rabies-related information, call (845) 486-3404 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm or email the Health Department at


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Last Updated: 6/22/2010