Gila County Health & Emergency Management has a message for dog owners regarding rabies prevention:
“In an effort to advance public health, Gila County Health & Emergency Management is urging residents to vaccinate their dogs against rabies. The $7–25 rabies shot is key to protecting much-loved pets, by shielding against exposure to a viral disease that is 100% fatal to pets and humans without treatment. In rural areas such as Gila County, domestic animals are at a far greater risk of contracting rabies — even if they are confined to private yard areas.
Raccoons, skunks, bats, coyotes, javelina, and other wild animals carrying rabies can bite and infect pets. These pets can then bring the disease to the home and put children and other family members at risk. In addition to protecting dogs and residents, current rabies vaccinations is the law.
Arizona law further calls for the quarantine of any dog found to exhibit rabies symptoms. While vaccinated dogs can receive a low-cost booster and be confined to the home, any unvaccinated dog must be held for 120 days at an approved veterinarian or animal shelter — at the expense of the owner. With shots and fees, this can total $1,200 or more.
Dogs must receive their first rabies vaccine no later than three months after birth (four months if miniature). A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine, with additional booster shots every one or three years thereafter, depending on the vaccine used. Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000.
Rabies vaccinations can be obtained at any licensed veterinarian or through one of the county’s low-cost rabies clinics. For more information about rabies or a schedule of upcoming clinics, call Gila County Animal Care & Control at (928) 425-5882.”