PEMBROKE — Those who brought pets to the rabies clinic set up at the St. Pauls and Raynham-McDonald fire departments only to learn the clinics didn’t open, there’s still a chance to get your pets a discounted vaccination.
The veterinary offices that were scheduled for the sites didn’t show up, for some unknown reasons, said Dr. Daniel Brooks, of Pembroke Veterinary Hospital. He will give rabies shots for the discounted clinic price of $5 to anyone who went to either of the clinic sites: St. Pauls on Monday and Raynham-McDonald on Friday.
Brooks will take pets until noon today and all day Monday. His office, located at 1447 Prospect Road in Pembroke, is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. It’s closed on Sundays.
Rabies vaccinations for pets were offered at a discounted price Monday through Friday at fire stations around Robeson County. The five Robeson County animal hospitals that make up the Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association participated in the clinics.
“We’re trying to improve the immune system so if it gets attacked by a rabid animal, it will be able to survive,” Brooks said.
He had the highest turnout on Monday, with 30, but he had only 17 on Friday at the Evans Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department station in Maxton, Brooks said.
Although there was a low turnout at the the Maxton clinic, people gathered early to get shots at the Allenton Volunteer Fire Department station on N.C. 211 East in Lumberton. Eighteen pet owners were waiting at 6:20 p.m. When staff members from Baird’s Animal Hospital, located at 3169 E. Elizabethtown Road in Lumberton, began arriving at 6:30 p.m. the line to get the vaccinations had grown by six people. Minutes later, as the shots began to be administered, 31 people, and their pets and vehicles, were crowding the fire station’s parking lot.
Tony Colson, of Lumberton, was one of the first people in line. He waited patiently with Snowball, a Chihuahua-mix dog. Colson said he has brought Snowball to the rabies vaccination clinics every year.
“That’s my buddy,” Colson said of Snowball.
Tana Mercer, of Lumberton, was near the end of the line of people wanting to get their pets vaccinated. She came with Gizmo, a Pekingese.
“This is my daughter’s dog,” Mercer said.
She brought Gizmo to the clinic because “mother was her only means of transportation,” she said with a smile.
But Mercer is no stranger to the clinics.
“I use to bring my Australian shepherds all the time,” she said.
Brooks chose fire stations because each community has a fire department in it and he wanted the clinics to be easily accessible to people.
“We wanted to take it to the communities, where they live,” he said.
Brooks said he thought the overall turnout was low and wished more people would come out.
“I don’t know why they don’t take advantage,” he said. “It’s a tremendous saving for just $5.”
The county picks up $3 of the cost of the $8 shot.
While at the clinic Brooks administered quick examinations of animals and gave advice on health and care. He also encouraged people to get vaccinations for heart worms and to get their pets spayed and neutered.
Rabies is an acute infection of the brain that is usually transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal. State law requires all pet dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age. An animal that bites a human and doesn’t have proof of vaccination faces either quarantine at the owner’s expense or being put down so its brain can be tested for the virus.
Over the past four years more than 4,000 animals have been vaccinated at the clinics, according to the veterinary association.
A Spay and Neuter Improves Pets program is scheduled in September. Robeson County Veterinary Medical Association members will offer discounted spay and neuter procedures for dogs and cats from Sept. 5 through Sept. 16.
The program’s primary objective is to decrease the number of unwanted cats and dogs that are free to roam and become a public nuisance.
Reach Tomeka Sinclair at 910-416-5865 and T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974.