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Chemung County Health Department Alerts Public to the Presence of Rabies

The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health had declared a rabies alert for Chemung
County several years ago due to the presence of the disease rabies in terrestrial animals. The Chemung County Health Department is required by the law to notify the public of this “rabies alert”. The rabies declaration also
puts the following requirements on Chemung County residents and the Health Department:

Rabies shots are required for all dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets by 4 months of age.
Owners can
be fined up to $200 if they fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep them up-to-date. This provision of the law will be actively enforced. This is an incentive to keep your pet up-to-date with its
rabies shots.

The Chemung County Health Department sponsors free rabies clinics at least every four months for
residents of Chemung County, so there should be no excuse for owning an unvaccinated pet. The next
free clinic will be held under the grandstands at the Chemung County Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 19, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Please call 737-2019 for more information.

If a dog, cat, or domesticated ferret bites a person, the pet must be confined and observed for 10 days to
ensure that it is healthy. Pets can usually be confined at the home of the owner, but may be required to
be confined at an appropriate facility such as an animal shelter, veterinarian’s office, kennel or farm. This is another incentive to have your pet up-to-date with its rabies shots.

If a rabid or suspect-rabid animal has contact with a pet that is not up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations, the pet must be either destroyed or placed in an approved quarantine. However, if the pet is up-to-date with its rabies shots, only a booster dose of vaccine is required within 5 days of the exposure, yet another incentive. Recently we have had instances of rabid raccoons entering homes through ‘doggie doors’ and attacking pets and a cat with rabies that bit humans. We often have cases of contact between rabid bats and domestic animals in homes.

All bites and potential rabies exposures are required to be reported to the Chemung County Health Department.
Staff are available around the clock to help anyone who may have been exposed to rabies.
For more information on rabies and the dates of free rabies vaccination clinics, please call the health department at 737-2019 during normal business hours or visit For residents with urgent emergency inquiries, the after-hours number is 737-2044

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Chemung County
203 Lake Street
Elmira, NY 14901

County Executive Christopher Moss