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County Executive Bellone Announces Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced today that the Department of Health Services and Suffolk County S.P.C.A. will offer free rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and ferrets older than four months. The clinic will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Islip Town Hall located at 655 Main St., Islip, and it is open to all county residents.*
“Suffolk County is home to a wide variety of wildlife,” said Bellone. “We urge residents to be vigilant when outdoors, to report any contact with bats or other wildlife and to be sure to get their pets immunized against rabies, a preventable disease.”
New York State and Suffolk County law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies, a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies. Pets and livestock are susceptible to rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection.
The Department of Health Services’ Bureau of Public Health Protection tests animals that have been reported as acting strangely or have come into contact with humans. Of the animals tested in 2013, only bats tested positive for rabies. Of the 84 bats tested last year, three tested positive for rabies.
 “Vaccinating pets not only provides protection for the animals but also acts as a barrier to help keep the rabies virus from spreading between wild animals and people,” said Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services.
Dr. Tomarken recommends the following precautions to protect from possible exposure to rabies:

●       Do not feed, touch or adopt or approach wild animals, stray dogs or cats.

●       Be sure your dogs, cats and ferrets as well as horses and valuable livestock animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccination protects pets if they are exposed to rabid animals. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation.

●       Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.

●       Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.

●       Do not transport or relocate any wild animals.

●       Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult       immediately if they are bitten by any animal.

●       Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 853-0333 weekdays, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. If possible, do not let any animal that has possibly exposed someone to rabies to escape.

For more information on rabies, visit the New York State Department of Health website at, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

*Though the clinic is available to all county residents, the quantity of vaccinations is limited and available only while supplies last. All dogs must be on leashes, aggressive dogs should be mussled and all cats and ferrets must be in carriers.

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