SPCA Florida Addresses Polk County's Rabies Crisis; 1,000 Free Vaccinations for Area Dogs and Cats

Nov 08, 2012, 14:10 ET from SPCA Florida

LAKELAND, Fla., Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With seven confirmed cases of rabies in wildlife across Polk County this year, an increase over two previous years, SPCA Florida is responding by providing 1,000 free rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats now through the end of the year through its Wellness Wagon mobile veterinary clinic.  Dr. Nicole Ferguson, SPCA Florida Chief Shelter Veterinarian says, "Rabies is a zoonotic disease, one that is spread to humans by animals. Domestic dogs and cats are a barrier species, protecting humans from contracting rabies, when the dogs and cats are vaccinated."

SPCA Florida has teamed up with Merck Animal Health and Webster Veterinary to provide free rabies vaccinations every Sunday beginning, November 11th, through the end of the year in low-income areas where cost, transportation and the lack of veterinary services are obstacles to obtaining animal healthcare. The first location of the free rabies vaccination clinic is at Eagle Ridge Mall in front of the food court, 451 Eagle Ridge Drive, Lake Wales 33859 from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, November 11, 2012.  Additional locations and times can be found by visiting www.spcaflorida.org/freevaccines. To qualify for free rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, the animal guardian must demonstrate proof of participating in one of the following needs-based public assistance programs: Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), Major VA Disability, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Free Lunch Program (Public Schools), Social Security Disability (SSD), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), HUD Section 8 Housing, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - Formerly AFDC. 

"Leading the way for happy, healthy pets and building humane communities, the SPCA Florida McClurg Animal Medical Center and our corporate partners are collaborating to protect pets and people from rabies," said Sean Hawkins, SPCA Florida CEO. "The McClurg Animal Medical Center provides high quality, free and low cost veterinary care to serve the community by helping animals and the people who love them." For more information about additional services offered by the McClurg Animal Medical Center and the updated Wellness Wagon schedule, which operates every Saturday in the community, call (863) 646-4647.

About SPCA Florida
Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is on track to serve 50,000 patients through the McClurg Animal Medical Center and provide direct care to more than 6,000 animals in Polk County this year through the Animal Adoption Center. Ani-Meals, which provides food and medical treatment for animals whose guardians are low-income, and the Guardian Angel Program, which provides medical treatment to animals in need, serve hundreds more animals yearly. SPCA Florida's full-service McClurg Animal Medical Center provides affordable veterinary care including examinations, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and treatment for illness or injury, including life-saving surgery, seven days a week. Find out more about SPCA Florida or support us by visiting www.spcaflorida.org.

Jessica Lawson
Manager of Media Relations
SPCA Florida
O: (863) 646-7722 ext. 105
C: (386) 986-8093