An estimated 400 dogs and cats were vaccinated against rabies Thursday as a part of the town of Ellicott's annual free rabies vaccination clinic.
Both residents and non-residents of the town stood in line in the blazing heat, some for close to an hour, to take advantage of the vaccination clinic. Notwithstanding the heat, few people or their pets seemed to mind waiting in line.
This, for the most part, is because a vaccination against rabies usually retails for around $30, according to Dr. Mary Fales. Because there is no limit to the quantity of pets one was allowed to bring, some people found themselves saving over $150.
Dr. Mary Fales vaccinates Bob and Sunny against rabies at town of Ellicott's free rabies vaccination clinic.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb
"It looks like the regular turn out," said Town of Ellicott Clerk Michael Erlandson. "We normally get around 300 to 400 animals and it looks like that's where we'll be at today. People started lining up about 45 minutes before it started, so it looks like it's going to be pretty successful."
Erlandson said that preventing future outbreaks of rabies and giving the residents of Ellicott peace of mind if they are bit by a stray dog are two of the reasons the town continues to provide a free rabies clinic every year.
"We think it's important that dogs and cats are vaccinated," continued Erlandson. "Occasionally a dog or a cat will get loose and this way it's nice to know that if a dog bites someone, all they need to do is call the town to find out if that animal has had its rabies shot."
Though the town of Ellicott sponsors the clinic, the vaccination serum is donated by the county and those who administer the shot are there on volunteered time as well. Dr. Mary Fales believes that rabies prevention is a more than worthy cause for her to volunteer her time.
"Rabies is a potentially zymotic disease," said Dr. Fales. "For that reason it's important to cover our animals and make sure that everyone is protected against it. The potential for exposure to rabies is still prevalent today, so the more animals that are vaccinated, the safer the general population is."
No matter what the value is for those who attended the clinic, however, the risk of rabies cannot be mitigated unless residents are willing to show up to such a clinic. Erlandson was quick to thank the people for their patience as well as others who helped contribute.
"Everyone who showed up today has done a service to their neighbors," said Erlandson. "This couldn't happen without them, as well as Dr. Fales, our highway superintendent (Sonny) Shellhouse and the cooperation of the county."
Those who attended expressed their gratitude for the clinic, as well.
"It's a very simple thing and the wait really isn't all that bad," said Joe Farren, who brought his dog Sable to be vaccinated. "It's easier than making an appointment and it sure beats paying for it. Last time I came it was raining so the heat isn't all that bad after all."
"It's a nice way of getting out and meeting other people," said Pam VanArsdale. "We've got multiple animals, so every little bit helps."