Fall rabies clinics focus on promoting pet safety

By Josette Keelor

BERRYVILLE — The Clarke County Animal Shelter hosts a rabies clinic every October, but shelter manager Jenny Wright said this one will be particularly huge.

The annual fall clinic, offering $10 rabies shots for pets beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday will be part of the shelter’s Fall Fling for Furry Animals 10-year anniversary celebration from noon to 3 p.m.

Celebrating 10 years in its current location at 225 Ramsburg Lane, Berryville, the shelter will host free festivities that include a barbecue lunch, pony rides, dog games, a petting zoo and camel rides, live music by Local Flavor, an adoption reunion parade, pictures for pets and a visit with animals available for adoption.

One of those orphans is Apple, a fluffy gray and white long-haired kitten that Wright almost ran over with her car.

“It was scooting across the road,” she said. “… I thought she was a little groundhog.”

Wright slammed on the breaks, and a driver coming from the opposite direction hit the breaks too. The kitten was a mess, but unharmed, and Wright brought her back to the shelter to clean her up. The incident happened near White House Foods in Winchester, an apple product wholesaler, so Wright named the cat Apple.

“She would have never survived out there, she was so little,” Wright said.

“I just love her,” she said, hugging the purring kitten. “Her motor’s just a runnin’.”

Everything but rabies shots will be free from the Clarke County Humane Society, and vaccinations will be courtesy of Roseville Veterinary Clinic.

Rabies clinics in Warren and Frederick counties will also offer discounts.

Frederick County Esther Boyd Animal Shelter, 181 Fort Collier Road, Winchester, will have rabies vaccines for $13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Humane Society of Warren County has scheduled a rabies clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 23 at 1245 Progress Drive, Front Royal. Vaccines for dogs and cats will be $12 and good for three years when owners bring a rabies vaccination certificate (not a tag).

Also that day will be $25 microchipping, $12 distemper vaccines for cats and dogs and Bordatella vaccines for dogs, and flea treatment, deworming, nail trimming and ear cleaning for $10 each. The first 25 people may register cats or dogs for $10 off a spay/neuter appointment.

The Shenandoah County Animal Shelter has not scheduled any rabies clinics for coming months and recommends residents call area veterinarians for pricing.

Usually part of an office visit, rabies fees are typically $25 or more for each immunization, Wright said.

“It’s definitely cheaper to go to a clinic,” she said.

In Front Royal on Sept. 29, a cat attacked an individual on Fletcher Street. In June, another cat attacked two people along the Happy Creek biking trail. Both cats tested positive for rabies.

In July in Shenandoah County, a fox tested positive for rabies after biting a resident in the 2000 block of Swartz Road, Woodstock, according to Lt. D.L. Dellinger.

That was the only recent rabies report he said he recalled.

State law requires dogs and cats over the age of 4 months to be vaccinated against rabies, and a release from the Lord Fairfax Health District following the September attack asked residents to pay attention to pets returning home with unexplained wounds and consult a veterinarian with concerns about rabies.

Discussing Saturday’s celebration, Investigator Allen Mason of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office said he remembers bringing strays to the county’s much smaller shelter previously on Parshall Road in Clarke County.

The new building, he said, “is a Taj Mahal compared to that.”

“[Animal control] was just part of my job,” he said while visiting the shelter Wednesday morning. “If there’s a cow out or an emu out … we deal with everything.”

“It feels like half the calls we deal with are animal calls,” he said. But he admitted the department only recently started tracking the number of animal control calls.

Dellinger agreed that calls about animals keep Animal Control Officer Jameson Cowgill busy. Sheriff’s deputies pick up the slack when Cowgill is on a call or during other shifts. Most calls are about dogs “running at large,” Dellinger said.

Currently, the Clarke shelter cares for 11 dogs and 38 cats, which at this time of year is about average.

“We have lots of kittens,” Wright said, “and there’s more kittens to come.”

Contact the Clarke shelter at 540-955-5104, the Shenandoah shelter at 540-984-8955, the Frederick shelter at 540-667-9192 or the Humane Society of Warren county at 540-635-4734.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com