Poughkeepsie… The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) announced today a free rabies vaccination clinic for pets will be held on Saturday, September 9th at the Amenia Town Hall, 4988 State Highway 22, in Amenia from 8 am to noon with convenient on-site parking.

In partnership with the Dutchess County SPCA, this clinic will offer Dutchess County residents the opportunity to obtain rabies shots free of charge for their dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets 3 months of age and older. Proof of residency is required. Non-residents will be charged $10 for each pet vaccinated.

“Our pet rabies vaccination clinics offer Dutchess County pet owners a great opportunity to have their dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated giving them protection should they encounter a rabid animal,” said DBCH Commissioner A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH. “I am especially pleased to have the Dutchess County SPCA assist us with administering these vaccines and the Town of Amenia for providing its facility.”

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.

In New York State, rabies shots are required for all cats, dogs, and domestic ferrets by the age of 4 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.

Dr. Vaidian reminds pet owners of the importance of vaccinating all dogs, cats, and ferrets, even if they are considered “house pets” and remain indoors.

If a pet is not up-to-date on its 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 are not required 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 Department is available around the clock to respond to inquiries or concerns regarding potential rabies exposures to people or domestic animals. Pet owners should report to the Department 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 that they should take to ensure the safety of their animal. Individuals with urgent inquiries may call (845) 431-6465 if an incident occurs after business hours.

To learn more about rabies during business hours, call (845) 486-3404 or visit the Department’s webpage atwww.DutchessNY.gov/DBCH.

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