Saturday, March 21, 2009

Metro offers low-cost rabies vaccines

WKRN Channel 2 News Metro Animal Control is offering $10 rabies vaccinations at sites all across Nashville the next two Saturdays. Tennessee state law calls for every dog or cat to be vaccinated each year. Judy Ladebauche, director of Metro Animal Control, says pet owners can be fined and forced to pay court costs if their animal is found without rabies documentation. More than 80,000 pets were vaccinated in Davidson County in 2008, but the "reality is there are lots more out there that need to come get in line," says Ladebauche. "We encourage people to do this at a discounted price." A rabies vaccination protects your pet against wild animal bites, the primary carriers of the virus. In 2008 there were 129 documented rabies cases, most of which involved animals like skunks, raccoons and bats. The rabies virus can be fatal. Although human deaths are rare, a Tennessee boy from Franklin County died in 2002 after being bitten by a rabid bat. Rabies tags also serve as a means of identification for you animal. If a stray dog or cat is found with tags on, Metro Animal Control can trace it back to the owner because they have the information on file. Linda York brought her Blue Heeler named Smokey to be vaccinated because they live in the country. "It's important because I can't imagine him getting sick and having to put him down," York told News 2. "There are a lot of wild animals our way, so we do this every spring to stay protected." If your dog doesn't have the vaccination and bites someone else, Ladebauche says it may have to be euthanized. Low cost vaccination clinics are happening the next few Saturdays in Davidson and Williamson counties. Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties plan on holding low cost clinics in April.

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