October 29, 2003
County Announces Free Rabies Shots for Pets
County Executive William R.
Steinhaus announced today a clinic for vaccinating pets against rabies.
Hosted by the Dutchess County Department of Health, in cooperation with the
JH Ketcham Hose Company, a Rabies Clinic will be held on Saturday, November
8th, at the firehouse 3133 Route 22, Dover Plains from 9 AM to 1 PM. The
firehouse can be found across the street from Dover Plains Elementary School.
At this free clinic, rabies shots will be provided free of charge to dogs and
cats, as well as domestic ferrets, at least 3 months of age.
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 now 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 up-to-date 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.
As in the past, 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, which requires only a booster dose of
vaccine within 5 days.
As always, 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
If you would like to find out more about pet vaccination clinic schedules or
other rabies-related information, please call Monday through Friday between
the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
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