Low cost Harford rabies vaccinations coming Sept. 24

The Harford County Health Department is collaborating once again this year with international rabies experts and a business in Forest Hill to offer a low cost rabies vaccination clinic for Harford County pet owners on Sept. 24 in commemoration of World Rabies Day.

The public health outreach initiative will take place at 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, Inc., 121-A Industry Lane in the Forest Hill, from 1 to 4 p.m.

4 Paws Spa and Training Center is in Forest Hill Industrial Airpark off Route 23. Upon entering the airpark, signs will direct the public to the clinic.

Veterinarians at the health department-sponsored clinic will vaccinatedogs,cats, and ferrets for $5 per animal.

The health department cautioned in a news release, however, that only around 300 doses/tags will be available at the clinic.

Dog, cat, and ferret owners who wish to protect their pets from this dreaded disease are invited to participate and take advantage of this service while vaccine supplies last.

In addition to the vaccinations, information will be available, as well as special rates on wash and dry self-service for pet owners through 4 Paws Spa and Training Center Inc.

This is the fourth year the health department has sponsored the low cost clinic in partnership with 4 Paws.

"Rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and ferrets are required by Maryland state law and we are delighted to continue offering this clinic to the public," David Reiher, Harford County Health Department rabies and vector control program coordinator, said in the news release. "It is another opportunity for pet owners who are unable to take advantage of our spring rabies vaccination clinics to vaccinate their dog, cat, or ferret for a very low cost."

"We are excited to continue this partnership with the health department to bring this low cost vaccination clinic to the public," Robin Greenwood, proprietor of 4 Paws Spa and Training Center, said. "The pet industry, veterinarians and government agencies all agree that rabies prevention starts with the animal owner."

Directions to and additional information about services offered by their facility can be obtained on-line at http://www.4pawsspaonline.com.

Between Jan. 1 and July 31, the health department identified 11 rabies positive animals in the county, including eight raccoons, two foxes and one bat.

During the summer, the health department has responded to increased bat activity in the county, having been contacted by more individuals and communities than usual that experienced bat encounters and colonization of bats in the attic area of their homes and apartments, particularly in the Aberdeen area.

"Bats entering living spaces can present a possible risk of rabies exposure to people and pets," Reiher said. "The best personal protection from possible contact is to prevent bats from entering your home, a process we call 'exclusion.' The best protection for your pet is vaccination."

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