FOUND A BAT IN YOUR HOUSE? COULD IT HAVE RABIES?

PSA FROM HEALTH DEPT.

The Health Department is offering free rabies shots for cats, dogs and ferrets on Sunday, July 13, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen’s Memorial Drive in Pomona. No appointment is needed. The shots are free, however a $5 donation per animal will help defray our costs. To get their free rabies shot: your dog, cat or ferret must be healthy and older than three months; your dog must be on a leash; and your cat and ferret must be on a leash or in a top-opening container. Call 845-364-2594 for more information.

Found a bat in your house and afraid of rabies? The good news is that most bats don’t have rabies, but you can’t tell by just looking at it. Rabies can only be confirmed by laboratory tests. If a bat is found indoors, do not release it, even if you think that no one (person or pet) was bitten by the bat. Confine the bat in a room by closing all the windows and doors, then follow these instructions:

– Between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, call the Health Department at 845-364-2656. They will advise you if it’s okay to release the bat or how you can safely capture the bat so it can be tested for rabies.

– After 5 p.m. or on holidays or weekends call the Health Department at 845-364-2585 and leave a message. Your call will be returned the next business day. It is important for you to capture the bat and refrigerate it until you receive a call back from the Health Department. They will advise you if it’s okay to release the bat, or any other further action you need to take. To capture a bat, use a container like a small box or a large coffee can, and a piece of cardboard large enough to cover the opening in the container. Punch small air holes in the cardboard. Put on leather work gloves. When the bat lands, approach it slowly and place the container over it. Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside, then tape the cardboard to the container, securing the bat inside. Refrigerate the bat in the container.

The most common way for people to get rabies in the United States is through contact with a rabid bat. However, there are usually only one or two human rabies cases each year in the United States. Most people are successfully protected from developing rabies by getting vaccinated after being bitten by an animal like a bat that may have rabies. “Your pets should be vaccinated against rabies to prevent them from getting the disease from wildlife, and spreading it to people. Help protect your pet from rabies by being sure their rabies vaccinations are current,” said Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County Commissioner of Health.

For more information about bats and rabies visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/