The Madison County Health Department has announced its schedule of rabies vaccination clinics for 2018. The first clinic will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the Madison Fire Department, 7362 Route 20.

Vaccinations are offered free to Madison County residents. Voluntary donations are appreciated to help defray clinic costs. Proof of previous vaccination is required to qualify for a three-year certificate. All animals must be at least 3 months of age and properly restrained using a leash and collar, harness, cage or pet carrier.

Public health law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated by 4 months of age. A second vaccination must be given within one year of the first, and pets must be actively immunized against rabies thereafter. This typically requires a booster vaccination every three years for dogs and cats, and annually for ferrets. Owners of any dog, cat or ferret not current with their rabies vaccinations are in violation of public health law, and subject to a fine of up to $200 for each offense.

Rabies continues to be a problem in New York State and in Madison County. If you are bitten, scratched, or have contact with any pet or wild animal you believe to be rabid, immediately wash the wound and seek medical attention if needed. Promptly call to report the incident to the Madison County Health Department at 315-366-2526, or call the Health Department in the county you live. The Health Department will discuss the exposure with you to determine if treatment is necessary.

For the complete list of rabies vaccination clinics, visit the Madison County Health Department online at healthymadisoncounty.org, check the upcoming events on the Madison County Health Department, NY Facebook page or call 315-366-2526.