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Health Department Conducts Annual Rabies Vaccination Clinics: Keeps Cost Down for Pet Owners

Bel Air, MD – The Harford County Health Department is sponsoring its annual rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets that are 3 months old and over on Sunday, May 2 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Moreover, as incentive to pet owners during the economic recovery, the health department has kept the fee for the vaccination at the 2009 cost of $5.00 per animal.


Last year, the department vaccinated a total of 2,547 dogs, cats and ferrets at its clinics, more than in any previous year.  Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly states, “As a result of the economic downturn last year, we believe that concerned pet owners were looking for value and found it with the Health Department's $5.00 shot that protects their pets against this deadly disease.”


Well chronicled budget cuts to local health departments statewide have caused several surrounding counties to increase client costs for these vaccinations, an option that also was considered here.  “However,” continues Ms. Kelly, “our Department ultimately chose to continue offering this very important public health service at the cost of $5.00, making it the least expensive rabies pet vaccination opportunity among local health departments in our area.” 


In order to keep consumer cost down, the Health Department approached its partnering local veterinarians and volunteer fire departments about reducing fees they receive for their assistance with the clinics.  “As a direct result of their cooperation and goodwill, and because they understand the need to continue this service and the public and veterinary health benefits that it provides, these cost-saving measures ultimately gave us the ability to keep the charge at its current level,” reports Ms. Kelly.


Health Department pet rabies vaccination clinics will be conducted from 2:00 until 4:00P on the following dates and locations:


Sunday, April 25, 2010:

  • Abingdon Fire Company -- 3308 Abingdon Rd., Abingdon
  • Darlington Volunteer Fire Dept.  -- 1209 Castleton Rd. (near intersection of Rts. 1 & 623), Darlington
  • Harford County Equestrian Center  (parking located at 702 N. Tollgate Rd.)
  • Susquehanna Hose Company -- Intersection of Revolution St. and Bloomsbury Ave., Havre de Grace
  • Whiteford Volunteer Fire Department -- Route 165, Whiteford

Sunday, May 2, 2010:

  • Aberdeen Volunteer Fire Dept. -- Corner of Rogers & Franklin Sts., Aberdeen
  • Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Dept. -- 3825 Federal Hill Rd., Jarrettsville
  • Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Dept. -- Rte. 7 & Mountain Rd. (Route 152), Joppa

Pet owners wishing to take advantage of the clinics and to save time are encouraged to download vaccination forms, available online at the health department’s website --- click Website below. Forms must be completed using a ball-point pen and brought along with the pet to the clinic.  In order for pets to be vaccinated at the clinic sites, dogs must be on a leash while cats and ferrets should be secured in cages.  No animals other than dogs, cats, and ferrets will be vaccinated.


Although some counties in Maryland experienced high numbers of rabies positive animals in 2009, notably Montgomery and Worcester with 68 and 52 cases respectively, the trend in Harford County numbers continues downward.  Over the past three years, only 16 rabies-positive animals were identified in 2009, compared to 23 in 2008 and 28 in 2007.  About 75% of these positive animals were raccoons, which typically provide the highest risk and most common exposure route to domesticated animals.


Speaking to this phenomenon, Ms. Kelly reminds the public, “Although we currently are experiencing a downturn in the number of rabies positive cases, these trends are often cyclical so the numbers eventually might increase.  Pet owners must remain vigilant in vaccinating all of their pets, since this is our best defense against rabies.”


Certificates given at the clinics provide necessary proof of vaccination for dog licensing in Maryland.   For more information about the clinics, please call the Health Department at 410-877-2300 or click Website below.


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