Humane Society to host rabies clinic

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:15

    WARWICK-Biting your veterinarian is not a good idea, especially if your rabies vaccination is not up to date. That recent true incident, reported Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society, resulted in a dog being ordered to a 10-day confinement at the owner's expense. Ironically, if a potentially rabid animal, such as a raccoon had bitten the same dog, he or she would have been quarantined for six months, again at the owner's expense. That's the law. Anyone who has a pet who needs a rabies vaccination can take advantage of a time and money saving opportunity offered by the Warwick Humane Society. The organization will host a rabies clinic on Sunday, Sept. 19, from 9 - 11 a.m. The event is in celebration of The American Kennel Club's "Responsible Pet Ownership Day." The rabies clinic will be open to cats and dogs and will be held at the Warwick Animal Shelter at 48 Public Works Dr. off of Kings Highway, rain or shine. All pets must be restrained on leashes or in carriers. The cost is $8 per pet. Barron urges everyone to make sure rabies vaccinations are up to date. Animals who have only recently been vaccinated, however, may not be completely safe. "We recently impounded a dog for running at large. The animal was not up to date on its rabies vaccination," she said. "It was returned to its owner only after getting a rabies shot. The owner had to pay for its impoundment, shot and license before it was released. Less than two weeks later, this same dog bit someone. Because the shot was within two weeks it was not considered active." According to Barron, rabies can be contracted from any mammal. The most common carriers are bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks. The symptoms are often hard to detect. Seeing a raccoon during the day has often been viewed as a danger signal but nocturnal animals may come out at any time in search of food or because of changing weather. Rabid animals may appear unusually aggressive or tame. They usually have excess drooling and/or mobility problems. Barron recommends calling the Orange County Health Dept. if wildlife has had contact with a person or pet or if a human has had contact with a pet after a pet/wildlife fight. And remember, if a bat is found living in the home, it may have bit your pet which is why "house cats" must also be vacinated. Since January, there have been five confirmed cases of rabid animals including one kitten in the Warwick/Chester area. The Shelter has also registered 30 dog bite reports. The mandatory confinement or quarantine for pets without a current rabies vaccination must be at an appropriate facility such as an animal shelter, boarding kennel or veterinarians office. This it at the owner's expense and although the Warwick Valley Humane Society can occasionally offer this service for a boarding fee at it's Animal Shelter, there is no guarantee for a space since the problem has placed an unnecessary burden on the shelter due to severe overcrowding. The best solution is to make sure the records are up to date.