Bel Air, MD – April 18, 2013 – Consistent with the section of Maryland’s Annotated Code that provides for cooperative rabies control efforts by the Department, local health officers, physicians, veterinarians, and other Maryland government agencies, the Harford County Health Department will once again sponsor its annual rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets.
As an incentive to pet owners to vaccinate their pets, the Harford County Health Department has kept the cost to $5.00 per animal, a fee amount it has maintained for over thirty years and that is the lowest among any neighboring jurisdictions. The Health Department’s pet rabies vaccination clinics will be conducted from 2:00pm until 4:00pm on the following dates and locations:
Sunday, April 28, 2013:
- Abingdon Fire Company — 3308 Abingdon Rd., Abingdon
- Harford County Equestrian Center (parking located at 702 N. Tollgate Rd.)
- Susquehanna Hose Company — Intersection of Revolution St. and Bloomsbury Ave., Havre de Grace
- Whiteford Volunteer Fire Department — Route 165, Whiteford
Sunday, May 5, 2013:
- Aberdeen Volunteer Fire Dept. — Corner of Rogers & Franklin Sts., Aberdeen
- Darlington Volunteer Fire Dept. — 1209 Castleton Rd. (near intersection of Rts. 1 & 623), Darlington
- Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Dept. — 3825 Federal Hill Rd., Jarrettsville
- Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Dept. — Rte. 7 & Mountain Rd. (Route 152), Joppa
In order for pets to be vaccinated at the clinic sites, dogs must be on a leash while cats and ferrets should be secured in cages. No animals other than dogs, cats, and ferrets will be vaccinated. Pets must be at least 3 months of age. Certificates given at the clinics provide necessary proof of vaccination for dog licensing in Maryland.
Last year, the department vaccinated a total of 2,678 dogs, cats and ferrets at its clinics. “This was our highest total ever” states David Reiher, Rabies Coordinator for the Harford County Health Department. Mr. Reiher continued, “We were very pleased that so many pet owners took advantage of low cost rabies vaccination and saved money. More importantly, our patrons realize that rabies is a deadly viral disease and that a rabies vaccination is required by Maryland law.”
Most rabies exposures to pets are the result of exposures to raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Potential human exposures to rabies are usually from bats found in living spaces, stray animals, particularly cats, and from contact with a pet after it has had contact with a potentially rabid animal.
So far this year, the Health Department has yet to identify a rabies-positive animal in Harford County, a fact that should not deter pet owners from vaccinating their pets since this can quickly change. However, Health Officer, Susan Kelly reminds the public, “We have seen similar cyclical trends in the past. The trend can change and the number of positive animals can rapidly increase. Pet owners must remain vigilant about vaccinating all of their pets, even if they consider their pet an indoor pet that will never get exposed. The vaccination is the best defense against rabies.”
Ms. Kelly indicates that the Health Department also uses the rabies clinics as an opportunity to distribute very useful information to the public. “This year, in addition to the tick identification cards provided by the Environmental Health division, the Health Department’s Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Division will be providing an informative Emergency Preparedness for Pet Owners guide. This resource guide will assist pet owners in developing emergency plans, having a emergency kit, and what to do before, during, and after a disaster.”
Pet owners wishing to save time and take advantage of the clinics are encouraged to download vaccination forms, available online at the health department’s website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com. Forms must be completed using a ball-point pen and brought along with the pet to the clinic.
For more information about the clinics, call the Health Department at 410-877-2300 or visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com.