At first glance a record of about 400 pets vaccinated during Ohio County's annual series of rabies clinics sounds very good. But county Dog Warden Doug McCroskey decided the number was low enough that he ought to explain it to county commissioners.
When the clinics first were offered 16 years ago, nearly 2,000 animals were vaccinated, McCroskey told commissioners. The number treated each year has been dropping steadily for various reasons.
A major factor has been a new three-year vaccine that replaced two-year doses, McCroskey explained. And, he added, stricter enforcement of the requirement pets be vaccinated against rabies has helped. Fewer people wait for the annual clinics.
That seems to be paying off. We cannot recall the last time a human being, bitten by a pet dog, required treatment for rabies. And there seem to be fewer reports of wild animals with the disease.
The clinics themselves have been a huge success. They use local veterinarians who, at sites throughout the county, offer low-cost ($8 per pet) vaccinations. Beyond any doubt, the program has prevented an enormous amount of suffering among animals and, perhaps, humans.
Decreasing numbers of pets at the clinics, then, are a sign of success - and reason to commend all involved in offering them.