Date: Monday, Sept. 12 & Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Fire Station #3, 25 Willow St, Newton Centre
All cats and dogs are welcome, caged or leashed, and escorted by someone over age 14. $10.00 fee.
For a 3-year rabies vaccine, you must bring proof of previous vaccination. If you have questions about whether your pet is eligible for a 3-year vaccine, please call the Health & Human Servcies Department at (617) 796-1420.
Protect Your dog or cat. Your family, your neighbor.
Local pet owners are urged to vaccinate pets and all are urged to use common sense around stray and wild animals. Rabid raccoons has been a problem in Massachusetts since 1992, when the raccoon strain epidemic began. Raccoons with rabies have now infected other animals, including skunks, woodchucks, foxes, coyotes, and other wild animals. Unvaccinated household pets that come into contact with wildlife may pose the greatest risk to people. Since this strain of rabies reached Massachusetts, 50 cats have been infected, and for the first time since 1949, a puppy with rabies was identified in Massachusetts last year.
Another strain of this disease, bat rabies, is still a problem in the Commonwealth. Each year, since 1961 nearly 15 bats test positive for rabies at the State Laboratory Institute. The bat strain of rabies accounts for more than 80% of cases of human rabies in the United States since 1980. Although no human cases caused by bat rabies have occurred in Massachusetts, people in our neighboring states of Connecticut and New York have died of bat rabies since 1993. Because of this risk, it is recommended that anyone who has had contact with a bat submit the bat for testing or receive treatment.
Since it is always fatal, rabies is a very frightening disease. Fortunately, there is a vaccine for pets, and there is a very effective vaccine for people.
Statistics gathered by the Department of Food and Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Health show that just over 75 percent of Massachusetts dogs are currently vaccinated. Only about 30 percent of Bay State cats are up-to-date on their rabies shots. All dogs, cats and ferrets living in Massachusetts are required by law to be vaccinated against rabies.
More than 450 dogs and cats are exposed to rabid animals in Massachusetts in an average year. Because rabies is an infectious and contagious disease that can be transmitted to humans, this exposed animal must be dealt with properly to ensure public safety. Exposed dogs and cats, which are not currently vaccinated, must either be isolated at an animal hospital for three months, or be destroyed. Because of the low compliance with the vaccination laws, euthanasia is the outcome in more than 15 percent of the cases or over 65 pets a year.
Rabies is now a permanent fixture in the wildlife population of Massachusetts. Though the virus may not be detected in the area for long periods of time it is still present. Vaccinating your dog or cat is the best way to prevent the threat of rabies from entering your home. Keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies shots is not only the law; it is also in the best interest of your animals and your family.
For more information on Rabies, vist the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.