BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Free rabies shots for pets will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aug. 22, at the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor.
The Westchester County Health Department, which is sponsoring the one-day vaccination clinic, said that Westchester residents must call (914)-941-2896 to schedule an appointment for their dogs, cats, and ferrets. The SPCA of Westchester is at 590 North State Road.
Cats and ferrets must be in carriers and dogs must be on leashes. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled, the Health Department said.
Under state law, dogs and cats must receive their first rabies vaccine before they are four-months old. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine, with additional booster shots given every one or three years after that, depending on the vaccine used, according to the law.
A pet that is up-to-date with its rabies vaccinations would only need to get a booster dose of vaccine within five days of the pet’s exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal. Animals not up-to-date with rabies vaccinations would need to be quarantined or potentially euthanized following contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the Health Department said.
Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep the vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that is spread through the bite or saliva of infected animals, most commonly raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Cats and dogs are also at risk because they can easily contract rabies from wild or stray animals, health officials said.
Signs of a possible rabies infection include staggering, spitting and frothing at the mouth. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame, health officials said.
Adults should encourage children to avoid touching unfamiliar animals and to immediately tell an adult if they have been bitten or scratched.
“Vaccinating your pet against rabies will protect your pet and your family in case your pet has contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal,” said Dr. Sherlita Amler, commissioner of the county’s Health Department.
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