Only about 400 pets were vaccinated against rabies during this summer's clinics, but Ohio County Dog Warden Doug McCroskey said there's a good reason for that.
''The first year we did almost 2,000. This year we only did 400, and there's several reasons why it's dropping every year consistently,'' McCroskey told Ohio County Commissioners Tim McCormick, Randy Wharton and Orphy Klempa.
''As of 2010, we went from a two-year vaccine to a three-year vaccine. ... The other reason is we've picked up enforcement of that. Anytime we deal with you or your animal, we give you seven days (to get them vaccinated) or you get summoned to magistrate court. It's cheaper to get your rabies vaccine than to pay a fine,'' McCroskey added.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Meeting Friday with their newly adopted dog Isabella at the Ohio County Animal Shelter are Michelle Applegarth of Colerain and her daughters Madison, 5, right, and Katie, 6.
This was the 16th year for the clinics that are held annually at various sites across the county. The shots cost $8 per pet and by West Virginia law must be administered by a veterinarian.
During a recent Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health meeting, Administrator Howard Gamble noted there had been no reports of rabid animals in the county by residents. Previously Gamble said Ohio County had 17 positive cases of rabid animals since 2000, mostly raccoons and bats.
Even if a pet never leaves one's home, it still can be vulnerable to exposure because bats, which are often known carriers of the disease, can enter a home and bite the animal.