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Rabies scare prompts Fairbanks Animal Control to host vaccination clinic

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Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:23 am | Updated: 11:45 am, Fri May 10, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — In response to the recent discovery of rabies in two wolves trapped in the Chandalar Lake area in the southern Brooks Range north of Fairbanks, borough animal control is offering nightly rabies vaccines next week at the shelter.

The vaccines will be given from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Control shelter on Davis Road. Cost is $5 per animal.

“I believe this is an appropriate response and hope we are able to reach folks whose animals have not been vaccinated,” animal control manager Sandy Besser wrote in an email announcing the clinic Wednesday night.

The clinic is a “special response” sponsored by the borough and Alaska Department of Public Health, Besser said. The animal control shelter has received several calls from pet owners asking if they have reason to be concerned since the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently announced two wolves killed by trappers in the Chandalar Lake area had tested positive for rabies, she said. Chandalar Lake is about 185 miles north of Fairbanks.

It marked the first time the disease has been detected in a wild animal population in the Interior.

The trapper who killed one of the wolves fed the carcass of the dead wolf to his sled dogs before returning to Fairbanks. The dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations but were given booster shots and quarantined under order of state veterinarian Robert Gerlach.

The clinic is a way to address community concerns about rabies and encourage anyone who hasn’t had their dogs or cats vaccinated to do so, Besser said. State law requires that pet owners get their animals vaccinated, she noted.

“We want to do whatever we can do to encourage people to get their animals vaccinated, especially with the number of people who let their animals run loose,” Besser said. “You can’t control what happens when a loose dog has an encounter with wildlife or comes upon a carcass in the woods.

“Prevention is the only thing you can do,” she added. “Once (rabies) is contracted, it’s not curable. Having animals immunized is the best thing all the way around.”

 The animal shelter scheduled the vaccines in the evening and for the full week to accommodate the greatest number of people possible, Besser said.

Registration forms are available at the shelter and on the shelter’s website at www.petfinder.com/shelters/fnsb.html. Pet owners can pre-register or register when they show up but vaccines will only be given between 4-7 p.m.

Animals must remain in the owner’s vehicle during the registration process and must be restrained at all times, Besser said.

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

 

Rabies Clinic

What: Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Control rabies clinic

When: 4-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday of next week.

Where: Animal Control Shelter on Davis Road.

Cost: $5 per animal

More information: Call 459-1451 or go to www.pet

finder.com/shelters/fnsb.html

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