By Robin Alberti
On Saturday, March 26, a group of volunteers helped host the annual “Drive Up & Poke! Rabies Clinic” at Woodstock Union Middle School/High School. This was the second clinic; the first had been held in Springfield the weekend prior. Dr. Philippa Richards, DVM at Kedron Valley Veterinary Clinic make this important service possible. For over 20 years she has been donating her time and skills to this annual rabies vaccine clinic, and many others like it around the state. The money raised and donations gifted this time will go to the animal rescue efforts in the Ukraine. The animals left behind are, too, in a devastating nightmare, and there are heroes helping as many animals as they’re able to treat and relocate to Poland.
The importance of a rabies vaccination cannot be understated, according to volunteer Greg Skaskiw, who said of the clinic: “It gives people an affordable option to take care of the vaccination required for people to get their dogs licensed as required by Vermont State Law for all dogs and wolf hybrids over 6 months in age.”
According to Sue Skaskiw, executive director at Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society, registering and licensing your dog is critical for several reasons:
1) It helps identify your dog if lost.
2) It shows proof that your dog is protected from rabies in the event your dog is bitten by a rabid animal (but would still need immediate life-saving medical attention).
3) If it bites another animal (or person) it could otherwise result in the quarantine of your dog in order to test for rabies or euthanasia, if the dog is not currently vaccinated
4) It helps pay for the service of the VT Spay Neuter Incentive Program (a.k.a. VSNIP). VSNIP is intended to help with the cost of spay, neuter and vaccinations for cats and dogs that are cared for by Vermonters unable to afford the standard cost of these important procedures. Included in this service is a rabies vaccination, and one distemper vaccination. VSNIP is funded by an added $4 fee to the licensing of dogs. This is the only funding for the program. Funds are limited by how many people license their dogs, which is required by law.
To license your dog, go to your town office with proof of a rabies vaccination. The deadline is April 1.