Keep your pets — and your community — safe by keeping rabies, licenses current

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. So here’s a question: Do you love your dog, cat, or ferret?

Prove it by making sure your fur-baby is properly vaccinated and licensed.

To help, the Outer Banks SPCA will host a low-cost rabies vaccine clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, Feb.11-15, at the animal shelter, 1031 Driftwood Drive, Manteo.

Rabies vaccines are $5 per pet. All pets must be leashed or in a carrier.

So, why get your pet vaccinated?

Well, to begin with, it’s the law.

In the United States (except Hawaii), it is legally required that every owned dog be vaccinated against the fast-moving rabies virus. Depending on your location and local law, this must be repeated every year to three years, depending on the rabies vaccine used.

In North Carolina, rabies law requires that all owned dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age (NCGS 130A-185). One shot is not enough; vaccinations must be kept current.

But the biggest reason to vaccinate your pet is because you love it.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral infection that affects the nervous system of mammals. It invariably causes swelling of the brain — and death — after a relatively short illness.

Pets and other domestic animals can be infected when they are bitten by rabid wild animals, such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats that carry the disease. The virus is transmitted through biting and/or scratching — it gets transferred in the saliva — and it is highly infectious.

Dare to Care

Dare County has every person’s — and pet’s — well being in mind by requiring that, in addition to being vaccinated, each pet is also properly licensed by the county. Not only is it a great way to track rabies vaccinations, the license also helps to reunite a lost pet with its owner. The cost is $10 per pet for spayed/neutered pets, $25 for pets that are not spayed/neutered. Note: The license is renewed annually.

It’s easy to do: Simply take proof of current rabies vaccination to the shelter or to one of the Dare County satellite locations. You can even do it online by visiting obxspca.org/dare-county-tags.

So, have a heart, and show your pet some love.

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