Free rabies vaccinations are being offered to any and all of Suffolk County’s four-legged friends.

The Town of Brookhaven has partnered with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to give shots to dogs, cats, and even ferrets on Saturday, April 28.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., residents can bring their pets to the Brookhaven Animal Shelter at 300 Horseblock Road.

All dogs must be leashed and all cats and ferrets should be caged.

According to New York State and Suffolk County legislation, dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to receive rabies vaccination because of the disease’s deadly nature.

Rabies attacks the nervous system of all mammals and is usually carried by wild animals like raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes.

There haven’t been any recorded cases of rabies in raccoons in Suffolk County since 2009, but three to six percent of tested bats have been known to carry the disease, according to the county.

To prevent the spread of rabies the SCDHS offers the following tips: 

  • Do not feed, touch or approach wild animals, or stray dogs or cats.
  • Be sure your pet dogs, cats, and ferrets, as well as horses and other livestock animals, are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
  • Pets that are 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 cover 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.

To keep bats from getting into buildings:

  • Make sure windows have screens, chimneys are capped, and electrical and plumbing openings are plugged;
  • Avoid leaving unscreened doors and windows open to the outside;
  • Seal all openings to the outdoors that are larger than 1/2 inch;
  • Use materials such as expanding spray-on foam, caulk, wire mesh, wood that fits tightly, steel wool (around pipes that enter buildings), or polypropylene bird netting, to seal or cover gaps and holes.

if you see it, report it

Suffolk County is asking its residents to report any animal bites or wild animal sightings to the SCDHS at 631-853-0333 or 631- 852-4820.

“If possible, try to contain the animal so that it can be tested,” said an SCDHS spokesperson.

Top: Photo courtesy of Alvan Nee from Unsplash