The Harford County Health Department has announced the schedule for its annual sponsorship of rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats and ferrets that are 3 months old or older.
Dates for this year's clinics are Sunday, April 29, and Sunday, May 6, 2-4 p.m., at the following locations:
Abingdon Fire Company, 3308 Abingdon Road in Abingdon;
Harford County Equestrian Center, parking located at 702 N. Tollgate Road, in Bel Air;
Susquehanna Hose Company House 4, Revolution Street and Bloomsbury Avenue in Havre de Grace; and
Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company, 1407 Pylesville Road (Route 165) in Whiteford.
Aberdeen Fire Department, Rogers and Franklin streets in Aberdeen;
Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company, 3825 Federal Hill Road in Jarrettsville;
Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company, Route 7 and Old Mountain Road in Joppa; and
Darlington Volunteer Fire Company, 1209 Castleton Road near the intersection of Routes 1 and 623, in Darlington.
As incentive to pet owners during the economic recovery and consistent with previous years, the Health Department has kept the cost for the vaccination at $5 per animal, which it notes is the lowest among any neighboring local jurisdictions.
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 at http://www.harfordcountyhealth.com.
Forms must be completed using a ballpoint 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.
Over the past three years, the department vaccinated a total of 7,273 dogs, cats and ferrets at its clinics, more than in any previous three year period.
"Although the economy continues to show signs of improvement, the high price of gas and other consumer goods have us all looking for ways to save money. We believe that concerned pet owners are looking for value and will find it with the Health Department's $5 shot that protects their pets against this deadly viral disease," County Health Officer Susan Kelly said in a statement announcing the clinic dates.
Most Maryland counties experience cyclical trends in the numbers of rabies positive animals. In Harford County, after a low of 11 positive animals in 2010, the number increased to 17 positive animals in 2011, according to the health department. About 75 percent of these positive animals were raccoons, which typically provide the highest risk and most common exposure to domesticated animals.
"We currently are experiencing an upward trend in the number of rabies positive cases. The numbers of rabies positive animals is likely to increase this year," Kelly said about the Harford County trend. "Pet owners must remain vigilant in vaccinating all of their pets, since this is our best defense against rabies."
Rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and ferrets are required by Maryland law. Certificates given at the clinics provide necessary proof of vaccination for dog licensing in Harford County.
For more information about the clinics, call the Health Department at 410-877-2300 or visit the Harford County Health Department website at http://www.harfordcountyhealth.com.