OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department will begin accepting appointments for its March 31 rabies clinic Thursday, March 25. Residents may call 315-349-3557 to schedule an appointment. The phone line for appointments will be open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. until all appointments are filled.

The rabies clinic will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, at the Oswego County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive, off Route 104, Scriba.

Judy Grandy, Director of Environmental Health for the County Health Department, encourages residents to take advantage of the rabies vaccination clinics for their pets. The department will hold clinics in Scriba, Pulaski, Parish, Hastings, Granby and Volney between March and October.

Grandy said the health department investigated 547 cases of possible rabies exposure across Oswego County last year. Those incidents resulted in 42 people receiving post-exposure rabies treatments.

“The rabies virus is nearly always fatal to mammals if left untreated, and remains active during the winter months,” said Grandy. “Vaccinating your pet builds a buffer zone between the virus and humans, and is the best way to protect you, your family and pets against the disease.”

The county health department arranged for 105 animals to be tested for rabies by the state health department in 2020. Twenty-nine animals tested positive for rabies, including 21 raccoons, three gray fox, two skunks, one bat, one fisher and one horse.

Although rabies clinics were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health department immunized 1,228 cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies in 2020.

All clinics are held on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. Appointments are required and COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place. Rabies vaccination clinics for cats, dogs and ferrets will be held at these locations during the spring, summer and fall:

- Scriba: March 31, County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive, Oswego.

- Pulaski: May 5, County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.

- Parish: May 19, County Highway Garage, 24 Dill Pickle Alley.

- Hastings: July 14, Town Highway Garage, Wilson Road, Central Square.

- Granby: July 28, Town Highway Garage, 820 County Route 8, Fulton.

- Volney: Aug. 11, Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance garage, 3125 Route 3.

- Pulaski: Sept. 15, County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.

- Scriba: Oct. 20, County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive, Oswego.

There is a suggested donation of $7 per pet.

These COVID-19 protocols remain in effect:

- Everyone entering the building must wear a mask and maintain proper social distancing by staying six feet away from others whenever possible..

- Do not attend the clinic if ill or a pet is ill.

- There is a limit of 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 children are properly supervised in their car.

- Pets must be under control at all times. No mingling with other pets and people.

- 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.

- 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 attend to the pet in the vehicle.

All animal bites, whether from a domestic animal or wildlife, should be reported to the Oswego County Health Department as soon as possible. Health Department staff will work with residents and health care providers to determine if rabies treatment is needed.

To report an animal bite or seek guidance concerning potential exposures to rabies, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3557, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., or call 315-341-0086 after regular business hours, weekends and holidays. Do not call the answering service after hours to schedule an appointment for a rabies clinic.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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