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 pets on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at Pleasant Valley Town Hall located at 1554 Main Street in Pleasant Valley. The clinic will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with free parking available. To ensure proper social distancing, all attendees are required to pre-register for the clinic. To register, visit the DCSPCA website at DCSPCA.org. Pre-registrations can also be made by calling the DCSPCA at 845-452-7722, x425
The rabies clinic will offer Dutchess County residents the opportunity to obtain rabies shots free of charge for their dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets. Proof of residency is required. Non-residents will be charged a fee of $10 per each 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 a prior immunization. For those without proof, the vaccination will be good for one year.
People can protect themselves against rabies by making sure their pets are up to date on their rabies vaccination. In New York State, rabies shots are required for all cats, dogs, and domestic ferrets by the age of four months. Animals must always remain up to date on rabies shots. Revaccination is 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.
If pets are not vaccinated or not up to date on their rabies vaccination and fights with a rabid or suspect-rabid animal, 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. 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.
The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health 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 with 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, contact DBCH immediately at 845-486-3404 Monday through Friday 9AM-5PM, or 845-431-6465 on nights and weekends.
To learn more about rabies please visit dutchessny.gov/Departments/DBCH/Rabies-Zoonotics.htm or contact DCBH at HealthInfo@dutchessny.gov.
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