NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. The Westchester County Health Department will hold a free rabies vaccination clinic at the New Rochelle Humane Society on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cats and ferrets must be in carriers, and dogs on a leash. Aggressive dogs must be in a muzzle . The Health Department will not give examinations.
Pet owners can call the New Rochelle Humane Society at 914-632-2925 for more information.
Dogs, cats and ferrets must receive their first rabies vaccine no later than four months after birth, the department said. 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 depending on the vaccine used, the department said. Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep the vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000, the department said.
Rabies is a fatal disease that is spread through the bite or saliva of infected animals. Those animals most commonly infected are raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Domestic animals such as cats and dogs are also at risk because they can easily contract rabies from wild or stray animals.
A pet that is up-to-date with its rabies vaccinations only needs a booster dose of vaccine within five days of the pets exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal, the department said. Animals not up-to-date with rabies vaccinations need to be quarantined or potentially euthanized following contact with a rabid or suspect-rabid.
The department said a change in an animals behavior is often the first sign of rabies.
The department also said animals can lose fear of people and become docile or it may become particularly excited and irritable. Staggering, spitting and frothing at the mouth are sometimes seen in infected animals, the department said.
The department encourages parents to tell children to avoid touching unfamiliar animals and to immediately tell an adult if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal.
The department also said all animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies should be reported by calling 914-813-5000.
After hours, callers should follow instructions in the recorded message for reporting public health emergencies 24 hours a day.
Residents can call the Rabies Hotline at 914-813-5010 to hear a taped message or visit the Health Department website at www.westchestergov.com/health to learn more about rabies, and how it can be prevented.
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