Poughkeepsie…The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) is partnering with the Dutchess County SPCA to host a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets 3 months of age and older on Sunday, October 23, 2022, at the Dutchess County SPCA located at 636 Violet Ave in Hyde Park from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pre-registration is required, and residents can register at DCSPCA.org or by calling the DCSPCA at 845-452-7722 extension 425.
There is no charge for Dutchess County residents; non-residents will be charged a fee of $10 per pet vaccinated. All dogs must be on leash and cats and domestic ferrets must be in carriers. Vaccinations will be good for three years for pets with proper proof of prior immunization. For those without proof, the vaccination 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. Revaccination is then required on a regular schedule to keep the animal properly immunized against the rabies virus. Owners can be fined up to $200 if they fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep them up to date.
DBCH Commissioner Dr. Santiago-Rosado reminds pet owners of the importance of vaccinating all dogs, cats, and ferrets, even if they are considered “house pets” and remain indoors. If an animal has not had a rabies vaccine or is not up to date on the rabies vaccine and interacts with a rabid or suspect-rabid animal, the pet must be either promptly euthanized or placed in quarantine for six months to protect other animals and people in case the pet develops rabies. These mandates do not apply for a vaccinated pet in the same situation. In such cases, only a booster dose of rabies vaccine would be given within five days to treat the pet.
DBCH is available 24/7 to assist with any questions or concerns regarding potential rabies exposure to people or domestic animals. Pet owners should report to DCBH any incident in which their pet has been bitten by or has an open wound exposed to the saliva or nervous tissue of a domestic or wild animal. Staff will investigate and advise the pet owner of any necessary steps they should take to ensure the safety of their animal.
Residents who see an animal acting strangely are advised to contact their local police agency. If a person has been bitten, or a domestic pet is bitten or is in contact, with any animal, they’re to contact DBCH immediately at 845-486-3404 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 845-431-6465 on nights and weekends.