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Thursday May 7th, 2015 5:51AM

Aiken worried pet owners not protecting animals against rabies

By B.J. Williams
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GAINESVILLE - While the number of confirmed rabies cases in Hall County is far lower than what it was this time last year (when a record number was recorded), the director of the Humane Society of Hall County said Monday he still considers the numbers alarming.

Rick Aiken said he is worried that pet owners have become complacent because they are not hearing as much this year about rabies as they did in 2008.

"They're not thinking about getting the animal done [vaccinated]," commented Aiken. "If it was something you did monthly, you probably would remember it, but once a year, a lot of people forget about that."

Aiken said in his opinion, 14 confirmed cases is still high, although it is a lower number than at this time last year. Hall County had a total of 43 cases in 2008.

Participation at low-cost rabies clinics this year has been down, according to Aiken, and he is concerned that pet owners have forgotten about the danger of rabies, not just for their animals, but for themselves.

Aiken said the Humane Society has scheduled at least two more low-cost rabies clinics this summer. The first will be held Saturday, August 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the shelter on West Ridge Road in Gainesville. Rabies vaccines will cost $10.00 per pet.

"We'll also be doing micro-chipping for $20.00, and we'll do a flea and tick dip for $5.00," said Aiken.

The last rabies clinic for this summer is scheduled for August 29 at the Wal-Mart store on Shallowford Road in Gainesville, although Aiken said emergency clinics could be organized if the need arises.
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