Dog Owners Should Keep Rabies Vaccination Current For Pets

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Rumen said under state law, towns can refuse to issue a dog license to the owner of any dog that lacks a valid rabies inoculation that lasts at least 10 months of the 12-month licensing period.

Most parents would never let a required vaccination lapse for their children, yet some forget to exercise that same diligence with other family members' their pets.

'Rabies is a daily concern here in Ocean County,' said Edward Rumen, department Public Information Officer. 'However, some residents may not be protecting their dogs from the virus 12 months of the year.'

'We have been receiving calls from veterinarians and municipalities regarding concerns about the vaccination law from pet owners who may not understand the reason why their pet needs total protection, which may call for a new vaccination before the current one expires,' Rumen stated. 'The law was designed to protect the public and their pets.'

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According to Ella Boyd, V.M.D., Public Health Coordinator, there is no risk to a healthy dog receiving a rabies vaccination early, thus completing the requirements for licensing as set forth in state statute.

'Rabid animals are a threat 12 months of the year here,' said Dr. Boyd. 'A family pet could come into contact with a rabid creature anytime of the year. Your pet needs rabies protection all year long, not just the summer months.'

Dr. Boyd noted that dogs are given rabies booster shots routinely after coming into contact with a wild animal or an animal unable to be quarantined.

Rumen said municipalities offer free rabies vaccination clinics with state-issued vaccine at locations around the county. A list of all clinics can be found by visiting the Ocean County Health Department Web site at http://www.ochd.org/rabies-clinics.htm. Additionally appointments for free rabies shots can be made by calling the Northern Ocean County Animal Facility at 732-657-8086, where monthly clinics are held the first and third Thursday. Residents in the southern portion of the county may call the Southern Ocean County Animal Facility at 609-978-0127 for an appointment at its monthly clinics, held the second and fourth Wednesdays.

'Your pet gives you a lifetime of unconditional love,' said Freeholder Gerry P, Little. 'All it asks in return is to have its needs met, and that includes keeping its rabies vaccination up to date.'

By Ocean County Health Department

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