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County to Host Free Rabies Vaccination Clinics

Dogs, cats, and ferrets can be vaccinated for free later this month.

Raccoons in Nassau County can transmit rabies to pets. Credit: file photo
Raccoons in Nassau County can transmit rabies to pets. Credit: file photo

Nassau County will offer free vaccinations for pets this month in Syosset and Westbury.

Residents can bring their pet cats, dogs, and ferrets to the Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter in Syosset on Sept. 21 and the Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury on Sept. 25.

The events run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 5-7 p.m. on Sept. 25.

Rabies vaccines are required for all dogs, cats, and ferrets in New York State. Unvaccinated pets and ones that are overdue for vaccines must either be put to sleep or be under a six-month quarantine if they come into contact with a rabid animal. However, a pet that has been vaccinated only needs a booster vaccination within five days of coming into contact with a rabid animal.

67 raccoons in Nassau County have tested positive for rabies since 2004.

Rabies can be transmitted either through a bite or through open wounds. To protect animals and their owners from being infected, the county offered the following tips:

  • Keep domestic animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) on a leash and keep livestock confined in the evenings.
  • Advise your family against approaching any unknown animal -- wild or domestic -- especially those acting in an unusual way.
  • Do not touch dead animals.  If you must move them, use a shovel, wear heavy rubber gloves and double bag the carcass.
  • Do not touch or have contact with any animal other than your own.
  • Instruct your children to tell you immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal.
  • Notify the Nassau County Department of Health immediately if a bat is found in a room where people were sleeping or if an adult enters a room and finds a bat with a child. Do not release the bat.
  • Do not feed unknown animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home by keeping garbage cans tightly covered.  Avoid storing any food including pet food outside.
  • Verify that your pets have current rabies vaccination, including dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock and horses.

If you were bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, contact a doctor or go to the emergency room and call the Nassau County Department of Health. For more information, call the department at 516-227-9663.

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