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Suffolk County Offers Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic on Saturday, September 24

Although the clinic is available to all county residents, the quantity of vaccine is limited and available only while supplies last.

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All dogs must be on leashes and all cats and ferrets must be in carriers.

Photo by: Wendy Domeni, via Free Images.

Brookhaven, NY - September 9, 2016 - The Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) and the Town of Brookhaven will offer free rabies vaccinations* for dogs, cats and ferrets as follows:

Saturday, September 24, 2016
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Brookhaven Animal Shelter
300 Horseblock Road, Brookhaven, NY

*Although the clinic is available to all county residents, the quantity of vaccine is limited and available only while supplies last. All dogs must be on leashes and all cats and ferrets must be in carriers.

Rabies, a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system, is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection.
New York State and Suffolk County laws require that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccinating pets not only provides protection for the animals but also acts as a barrier to keep the rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people.
The SCDHS Bureau of Public Health Protection tests animals that are reported to be acting strangely or have come into contact with humans. Although a number of different  animal species were tested in 2015, only bats tested positive for rabies. Of the 110 bats tested last year, 3 tested positive for rabies.
On March 24, 2016 the Nassau County Department of Health reported that a raccoon from Hicksville tested positive for rabies. This is the first positive raccoon found in Nassau County since 2007. Suffolk County’s last confirmed rabid raccoon was in January 2009. Between 2006 and 2009, rabies was identified in 19 raccoons near the Nassau-Suffolk border in the northwestern portion of the Town of Huntington.
Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services recommends the following precautions to protect your pets and your family from possible exposure to rabies:
  • Do not feed, touch or approach wild animals, or stray dogs or cats.
  • Be sure your pet dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and other livestock animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccination protects pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
  • Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
  • Do not transport or relocate any wild animals.
  • Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.
Heatlh officials advise residents to report all animal bites or physical contact with wild animals to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 853-0333 weekdays, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. After hours, contact (631) 852-4820If possible, try to contain the animal that so it can be tested.
For more information on rabies, visit the New York State Department of Health website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.