TUPELO – Pet owners who haven’t yet vaccinated their cats or dogs against rabies can get free shots this month through the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.
The agency has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to provide the free inoculations Oct. 16 at Mantachie City Park on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“Giving your pet its rabies vaccination helps keep it protected from the disease that is also carried by raccoons and other wildlife,” said TLHS Director Debbie Hood. “It is also state law that every cat and dog over 12 weeks of age be vaccinated.”
The event lasts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Rabies is a disease transmitted through saliva that attacks a mammal’s central nervous system. If untreated, it can cause those infected to become aggressive, confused or delirious. Death quickly follows.
Aggressive vaccination campaigns across the nation have made the disease relatively rare, but it does still occur. In 2005, a 10-year-old Mississippi boy died after becoming infected by a bat. His was the first confirmed case of human rabies in the state since 1956, according to the Mississippi State Department of the Health.
Bats pose the biggest rabies risk statewide and are the only animal to have tested positive for the disease in Mississippi since 1963, the MSDH said.
“Rabid raccoons from Alabama are the cause of Mississippi’s greatest threat,” according to the MSDH website. “The state of Alabama has found six … rabid raccoons over the past five years.”
Because family pets more often come into contact with wildlife than humans, rabies vaccines are required by the state. Cats and dogs must get them at 3 months of age and again one year later. After that, it’s every three years.
Pets also must wear rabies tags as proof of their vaccinations.
Both TLHS and HSUS representatives will be on hand at the event, as will a journalist covering the story for the national All Animal magazine.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a glance
■ What: Free Rabies Clinic
■ When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 16
■ Where: Mantachie City Park
■ Who: Tupelo-Lee Humane Society and Humane Society of the United States
■ Details: Get free rabies vaccinations for your pets
Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal