COURT HOUSE – “The best way to avoid potential exposure to rabies is to vaccinate your dogs and cats,” said Freeholder Jeff Pierson. “An encounter with a potentially rabid animal can be fatal for your pet--particularly if your pet is not currently vaccinated--and puts your family in danger of being exposed to rabies,” he added.

Residents are advised to take precautions when coming into contact with wild animals, particularly raccoons. Rather than approach a wild animal, call your local animal control officer for assistance.

Health Officer, Kevin Thomas stated, “Rabies is a fatal disease in humans and any animal bite should be taken seriously.”

The rabies virus is shed in the saliva of animals that are infected with the virus. If an animal bites you, wash the wound, seek medical attention immediately, and notify the Cape May County Department of Health and your municipal animal control agency. If you are exposed to a rabid or suspected rabid animal, you must receive rabies shots as soon as possible to prevent the disease. If your pet has contact with a wild animal, contact your veterinarian and the Department of Health right away.

State law requires all dogs 7 months and older to be licensed with your local municipality and rabies vaccination is a requirement for licensing. Most municipalities also have ordinances for cats. Many municipalities hold free or low-cost rabies vaccination clinics and rabies vaccine is also available from local veterinarians. Upcoming municipal rabies clinics include (call your municipality to confirm):

2018 Free Rabies Clinic Schedule for Cape May County:

Upper Township, Shore Veterinary Animal Hospital, 73 Hope Corson Rd., Seaville, NJ:

Jan. 20, 2018, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Dennis Township, 571 Petersburg Road, Dennisville, NJ:

Jan. 27, 2018, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Middle Township, Public Works Garage, 400 W Mechanic Street, CMCH, NJ:

Jan. 27, 2018, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Ocean City, 5th Street Firehouse, 551 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, NJ:

Jan. 27, 2018, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

North Wildwood, 901 Atlantic Avenue, N. Wildwood, NJ:

Feb. 10, 2018, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Upper Township, Shore Veterinary Animal Hospital, 73 Hope Corson Road, Seaville, NJ:

Feb. 17, 2018, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Sea Isle City, Former Public School, 4501 Park Road, Sea Isle City, NJ:

March 3, 2018, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Woodbine, Woodbine Ambulance Building, DeHirsch Avenue, Woodbine, NJ:

March 3, 2018, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Cape May Point, Public Works Building, 801 Lighthouse Avenue, Cape May Point, NJ:

March 27, 2018, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Lower Township, Public Works Building, 2600 Bayshore Road, Villas, NJ:

April 14, 2018, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Middle Township, Public Works Garage, 400 W Mechanic Street, CMCH, NJ:

May 5, 2018, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Sept. 29, 2018, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

For more information on animal rabies, go to: http://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/rabies.shtml. To receive information on public health news and local events, “like” the Cape May County Department of Health on Facebook.