Abrahams Announces Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic Open to All County Residents

Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) is reminding residents that the Nassau County Department of Health and the Town of North Hempstead are joining forces to offer a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs, cats and ferrets on Saturday, September 8, in conjunction with World Rabies Day. Open to all Nassau County residents, the clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter, 75 Marino Avenue in Port Washington.

With 66 rabid raccoons found to date in Nassau County since 2004, the first year terrestrial rabies was identified in the county, it is more important than ever to immunize your pets for their protection as well as for the safety of your family and loved ones. It is the law that dogs, cats and ferrets be immunized against rabies.

Rabies is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. However, the virus may also be transmitted when the saliva of a rabid animal comes into contact with cut, open or scratched skin lesions. To protect from exposure to possible rabies, residents are advised to take the following measures:

  • Keep domestic animals on a leash and keep livestock confined in the evenings.
  • Do not touch or have contact with any animal other than your own.
  • Do not touch dying or dead animals. If you must move them, use a shovel, wear heavy rubber cloves and double bag the carcass.
  • Advise your family against approaching any unknown animal – wild or domestic – especially those acting in an unusual way.
  • Instruct your children to tell you IMMEDIATELY if they were bitten or scratched by ANY animal.
  • Notify the NCDOH IMMEDIATELY if a bat is found in a room where people were sleeping, or if an adult enters a room and finds a bat with a child. Do not release the bat.
  • Do not feed unknown animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home by keeping garbage cans tightly covered. Avoid storing any food including pet food outside.
  • Verify that your pets have current rabies vaccination, including dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock and horses.

New York state law requires all dogs, cats and domesticated ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. If an unvaccinated pet or one that’s overdue on its vaccination comes in contact with a rab or suspected rabid animal, the pet must either be destroyed or strictly quarantined for six months. However, if a vaccinated animal comes into contact with a wild animal, it needs only a booster vaccination, but this immunization must be administered within five days of exposure. If you care for your family and your pet, it is absolutely essential that your animals have up-to-date rabies vaccinations.

Individuals bitten or scratched by an animal should IMMEDIATELY contact their health care providers or seek medical help at a hospital emergency room and then call the NCDOH.

To contact the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter, call (516) 869-6311. For more information on rabies, visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/health or call the NCDOH at (516) 571-2290.