The Oswego County Health Department re-scheduled the Hastings rabies clinic. It will now run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at the Hastings Town Highway Garage on Wilson Road in Central Square.
“We had to postpone and reschedule a number of the rabies clinics due to the coronavirus,” said Judy Grandy, director of environmental health for the Oswego County Health Department. “This has caused some confusion because the original schedule was already published. People should disregard that outdated information and refer to the county health department’s website at health.oswegocounty.com for the most current updates.”
The Oswego County Health Department reminds residents that COVID-19 protocols will remain in place for this and all rabies clinics for the remainder of the year. This includes making an appointment for your pet at the clinic.
Grandy said, “Unfortunately, at our last clinic, we had to turn away a number of people who were unaware of this protocol, so we really want to emphasize to people that appointments are required. If you or someone you know is planning to bring their pet to one of these rabies clinics, please make sure that you call ahead for an appointment.”
The appointment phone line will open on Monday, Aug. 17. At that time, people can call 315-349-3557 to schedule an appointment. Phone lines will be open from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays until the schedule is filled. Do not call the answering service after hours to schedule an appointment for the rabies clinic.
Appointments are limited. For those who don’t get one for this event, the next rabies clinic will be on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Pulaski DPW Garage on Centerville Road. Appointments for that clinic will not be scheduled until Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Other protocols that are part of the new safety plan include:
• Do not attend the clinic if you are – or your pet is – ill.
• All attendees must wear a mask or face covering and practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others whenever possible.
• Pets must be under control at all times. No mingling with other pets and people.
• There will be no “walk-ins.” This is an appointment-only clinic.
Attendees are asked to arrive no more than 10 minutes early to their appointment and to wait in their car to be called in. Follow signs and instructions from clinic staff. Those who miss their assigned appointment will not be served.
There will be limitations for both pets and people. No more than four pets per family and no more than two adults, or an adult and a child aged 14 and older, per car. Younger children will not be allowed into the building. Parents must make sure that they are properly supervised in their car.
Pets must be caged and/or leashed with a fixed length no longer than six feet. Cats and ferrets should be in a carrier. People must maintain control of their pets. Veterinary staff will not be able to leave their stations to deliver shots to a pet in the vehicle.
“We had to establish these new safety measures due to the coronavirus,” said Grandy. “We are grateful to everyone for their understanding and support in the clinics we’ve had, and hope that continues as we move forward with the rest of the schedule.”
New York state law requires that all cats, dogs, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. The first rabies vaccine should be given at three months of age. Ferrets must be vaccinated annually. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter.
The health department suggests a $7 donation per animal to help defray the clinic cost.
Grandy said, “The rabies virus is nearly 100 percent fatal to mammals and can infect any mammal. Immunizing pets is the most effective protection from the disease.”
To report an animal bite or seek guidance concerning potential exposures to rabies, call 315-349-3557 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. or 315-341-0086 after regular business hours, weekends and holidays. Do not call this number to schedule a clinic appointment.
Additional information about rabies can be found at www.cdc.gov/rabies.