Brooklyn Boro

For safety from rabies, Health Department to vaccinate dogs, cats, even raccoons

September 15, 2014 By Matthew Taub Special to Brooklyn Daily from Brooklyn Brief
Raccoons like this one are being vaccinated in New York City to prevent citizens from getting rabies.

The Health Department is stepping up its game.

With an event this past Saturday and another similar program next weekend, the Department and Animal Care & Control of NYC, in partnership with NYC Parks, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, state Sen. Martin J. Golden and Assemblymember Joseph Borelli, is providing free vaccinations against rabies to dogs and cats in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

“Vaccinating your pets is the best way to protect them against infection,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “With the help of Animal Care & Control of New York City, NYC Parks, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and our elected officials, Brooklyn and Staten Island pets can be vaccinated for free at these events and have the best defense against many deadly diseases, like rabies.”

Rabies occurs in New York City in bats, raccoons and occasionally in cats. NYC DOH detected three rabid raccoons in Brooklyn so far this year across different areas of the Borough Park neighborhood. Vaccinating your pet provides protection if they are bitten by one of these animals.

The first vaccination took place at the Salt Marsh Nature Center, 3301 Avenue U in Brooklyn, on Sept. 14. The remaining vaccination event will take place at the Blue Heron Nature Center, 222 Poillon Ave.in Staten Island, on Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To vaccinate a pet at either event, animals must be healthy and at least three months old. Participants must bring pets’ past rabies certificate to obtain a 3-year vaccination certificate. If pet owners do not have a record, or the animal is receiving the vaccine for the first time, a 1-year vaccination certificate will be issued. Dog owners will not be issued violations at these events if they do not have a current license for their pet.


Raccoon Vaccinations in Coastal Brooklyn and Queens

Also during the month of September, wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell University will distribute oral rabies vaccine (ORV) along the southern border of Brooklyn and Queens to prevent the spread of rabies virus among raccoons. Cornell received State funding to pursue this program in New York City, and it is an expansion of a program being conducted in Long Island and parts of upstate New York.

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