Six free rabies clinics will be offered in May and September by Erie County's Division of Environmental Health in an effort to protect county residents and their pets from what is a potentially fatal disease.
Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein said the Division of Environmental Health, which manages the county's rabies control program, vaccinated more than 4,000 pets in 2018.
"These vaccinations protect humans and domesticated animals alike," Burstein said.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz offered his appreciation to the Niagara Frontier Society, Medaille College's Veterinary Technology Program and the SPCA Serving Erie County for continuing to run the clinics.
"These community partners bolster the county's efforts in offering this service to area residents and families," Poloncarz said.
County health officials said animals that carry rabies, including bats, raccoons, fox and skunks, can enter residents' homes, barns and sheds undetected, exposing both indoor and outdoor cats to rabies. So far in 2019, the Division of Environmental Health identified 21 animals in Erie County that tested positive for rabies.
Peter Tripi, Erie County's senior public health sanitarian, said county residents and their pets who have been exposed to any wild animal or who have been bitten by a dog, cat or wild animal should call the Department of Health at 961-6800.
Those who plan to attend one of the free clinics are advised to bring their pet in a pet carrier, or on a secure collar, harness or leash. The use of retractable or extended leashes should be avoided. Participants are also advised to bring a copy of their pet's vaccination record, if possible.
Clinics are scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. on the following dates:
• May 15, West Seneca Highway Garage, 39 South Ave.
• May 22, Town of Tonawanda Highway Garage, 450 Woodward Ave.
• May 29, Broadway Market, 999 Broadway, in the parking ramp
• Sept. 11, Erie Community College-South Campus, Building 7, Maintenance Garage, 4041 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park
• Sept. 18 Erie Community College-North Campus, Noonan Center, Maintenance Garage, 6205 Main St., Amherst
• Sept. 25, Cheektowaga Highway Garage, 3145 Union Road