The Steamboat Springs Police Department is urging residents to vaccinate and license their pets. The reminder comes after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment revealed two confirmed cases of rabies in dogs on Monday, May 15. The infected dogs in Weld and Yuma Counties have been contained and are not a threat to public health.
“The rabies vaccination is usually given once every three years and sometimes pet owners loose track,” commented Steamboat Springs Police Commander Annette Dopplick. “I want to encourage all pet owners to be diligent in assuring vaccination against this deadly virus. We love our pets; so let’s protect our pets.”
The City of Steamboat Springs requires a current license for all cats and dogs. Pet owners may purchase a Routt County license directly from the Animal Shelter or through a local veterinarian. The cost is $5 for a spayed/neutered cat or dog, $25 for an unaltered cat or dog.
Rabies spreads primarily through the bite of rabid animals. It usually is fatal in humans once symptoms appear. People who have been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal should contact their health care provider immediately to prevent the disease. If you see animals acting strangely, report it to the state health department or your local health department.
To avoid rabies
- Never touch or feed wild or stray animals. Don’t leave pet food outdoors. If you need help with a sick or orphaned animal, contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Contact a nearby animal shelter if you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat.
- Vaccinate your pets. Use a licensed veterinarian, and make sure you keep up with pets’ booster shots.
- Leash your dog. Protect dogs and wildlife by keeping your pet on a leash while walking or hiking.
- Keep cats and other pets inside at night. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard or on leash) when they are outside during the day.
- Call your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
- Vaccinate pastured animals annually. Have a licensed veterinarian administer an approved large-animal rabies vaccine.
- Bat-proof your home. Learn how at this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web page.
Recognizing sick wildlife
- Many healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans. However, sick animals often do not run away when they’re near people.
- Wildlife with rabies often will act aggressively or violently approach people or pets.
- Some rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. Don’t bother them.
- Rabid wildlife might have trouble walking, flying, eating or drinking.
For additional information on rabies, see the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
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Annette Dopplick, Police Commander, 970-879-4344 or firstname.lastname@example.org