Rabies Prevention & Control
The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health has declared a "rabies alert" for Chemung County due to the presence of rabies in wildlife. As such, we are required to post an annual Rabies Alert Notice. To download a copy of the Chemung County Rabies Alert Notice.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has developed a few documents related to rabies. The first is a Rabies Fact Sheet which has important facts about rabies. The second is Nuisance Wildlife Fact Sheet with information related to wildlife and how you can avoid possible exposure to rabies.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RABIES AND ANIMAL BITES/EXPOSURES
Question: If my dog, cat, or ferret bites or scratches someone, do I need to report it to anyone?
Answer: If the bite/scratch required medical treatment, the health care provider is required to report the incident to the Health Department. If no health care provider is involved and the person bitten is a child, the parent of the child shall report the bite to the Health Department. If the person bitten is an adult, that person shall make the report to the Health Department.
Question: What will happen to my dog, cat, or ferret after it has bitten or scratched someone?
Answer: If the animal is actively immunized at the time of the bite, the Health Department may allow 10-day confinement of the animal at the home of the owner. If the pet is not actively immunized, 10-day confinement must occur at the owner's expense at an appropriate location approved by the Health Department.
Question: Does my dog, cat, or ferret need to have rabies shots?
Answer: Yes, every dog, cat, and domesticated shall be actively immunized against rabies. Initial vaccination shall occur no later than 4 months after birth. They shall have a 2nd vaccination within one year of the first vaccination. The terms of subsequent vaccinations will depend on the type of vaccine administered.
Question: What are the consequences if my dog, cat, or ferret is not vaccinated for rabies?
Answer: The owning of a dog, cat, or ferret by any person is a violation of the law and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $200 for each offense.
Question: What if I can't afford to get my dog, cat, or ferret vaccinated for rabies?
Answer: The Health Department sponsors FREE rabies vaccination clinics at least every 4 months, so there is no excuse for not getting your pet vaccinated.
We have created a special page that addresses issues specific to bats and rabies.
The position that the County Health Department has taken with regard to the feral cat population in Chemung County.
Rabies shots are costly and painful. However, rabies shots can be avoided. If the animal with which you had contact is able to be tested, we might be able to confirm that the animal was NOT rabid, and then rabies shots will not be necessary. If you are not able to capture the rabies-suspect animal, there are licensed, trained individuals that may be able to assist you for a fee. Below is a list of Licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Officers:
For situations where you find wildlife that is endangered or injured and there has not been any human exposure to the animal, Wildlife Rehabilitators can be called upon to rescue the animal. For a listing of the currently licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators, click on the link below:
We have created a special webpage with information that will be helpful to healthcare providers as they are confronted with patients seeking care for potential rabies exposures.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The federal Centers for Disease Control has a website with very helpful information relative to rabies.