OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department will reopen rabies clinics with new protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next clinic will run from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17 at the Oswego County Highway Garage on Schaad Road, just off Route 104 in Scriba.
“We have developed some new procedures which will allow us to re-open our rabies clinics in light of the coronavirus,” said Judy Grandy, director of environmental health for the Oswego County Health Department. “We will need everyone’s cooperation to ensure it is a safe event and runs smoothly. With that, we will be able to schedule additional clinics in the future.”
The safety plan includes the following guidance:
- 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.
Appointments are limited. For those who don’t get one for this event, the health department plans to resume its regular schedule with the July 15 rabies clinic in Hannibal. New protocols and appointments will apply to that clinic as well.
People can call 315-349-3557 to schedule their rabies clinic visit. Phone lines will be open from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, June 11 and from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays thereafter.
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 attend to the pet in the vehicle.
“The rabies virus is nearly 100 percent fatal to mammals and can infect any mammal,” said Grandy. “Immunizing pets is the most effective way to protect humans and their pets from the rabies virus.”
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.
For questions about the rabies clinic or to schedule an appointment, call 315-349-3557.
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.