The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County (HSVB) is asking all pet owners to take immediate precautions after a rabies alert was issued this week for portions of the county. Pet owners should keep cats and dogs indoors and leashed or closely monitored while outside. This is especially important for pet owners living in the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County’s rabies alert area, which has the following boundaries:
· South of State Road 60/20th Street
· North of Oslo Road/9th Street SW
· East of 66th Avenue
· West of US Highway 1
Rabies is a fatal disease that can only be prevented by vaccination and avoidance of animals who may be infected with the virus. Anyone who has been bitten or scratched in the last two weeks by a cat, wild animal or dog in the rabies alert area should contact the Indian River County Health Department immediately at 772-794-7440.
In an effort to decrease the risk of rabies transmission to humans and pets, Public Health officials and Indian River County Animal Control will be trapping stray animals in the rabies alert area. Pets who are trapped within the area above may be quarantined and observed for 45 days at the owner’s expense, even with proof of vaccination, while unvaccinated animals may be quarantined and observed for 120 days, also at the owner’s expense.
Residents throughout Indian River County are asked to take the following precautions:
· Anyone who has been bitten by a dog, cat or wild animal should immediately seek medical attention, and notify Animal Control of the exposure by calling Indian River County Animal Control at (772) 226-3486 or Vero Beach Animal Control at (772) 978-4600.
· Pets who are attacked by wildlife should receive immediate veterinary care and the incident should be immediately reported to Indian River County Animal Control at (772) 226-3486 or Vero Beach Animal Control at (772) 978-4600.
· Do not handle, feed or pet unknown pets or wildlife.
· Keep all cats indoors and dogs leashed or closely monitored when outside.
· Do not leave pet food outside for stray animals. Pet food left outdoors can attract a variety of animals and cause dangerous conflicts between pets and wildlife.
· Keep pets updated on rabies vaccinations. The Humane Society and local veterinarians offer rabies vaccinations. Call the Humane Society’s Clinic at (772) 388-0801 if your pets need to be vaccinated.
The Humane Society, Health Department and Animal Control can provide educational materials and programs. For more information call (772) 388-3331.