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Putnam County

Department of Health

A PHAB Accredited Health Department

The Putnam County Department of Health is made of several divisions all working towards improving and protecting the health of the entire community, through the lens of equity.

Rabies

Rabies Vaccine Clinic Information

The Putnam County Department of Health sponsors three free rabies vaccinations clinics each year for cats, dogs and ferrets of Putnam County residents.  Ensuring pets are current on their vaccination makes them safe and also keeps their family and community safe. Clinics are held each March, July and November.

Capture The Bat

Rabies will result in death if it is left untreated in humans and domestic pet mammals. If a county resident (or visitor) has a potential rabies exposure, our trained rabies program staff makes a decision regarding treatment. Our nurses work with area health care providers and the exposed individuals to ensure accurate and timely completion of Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.

Nurses and environmental staff work with the local hospital and area health care providers to follow county residents through their Rabies prophylaxis regimen and completion of this protocol, in addition to providing educational presentations to the community as needed.

Additional information about rabies can be found through the New York State Department of Health or CDC.

Veterinarians & Healthcare Providers

To report a possible rabies exposure in a person or pet, please complete the form below and fax it to 845-278-7921. All animal bites suspected of transmitting rabies are required to be reported to the health department within 24 hours by calling 845-808-1390. If calling after hours, holidays or weekends, dial 845-808-1390 and press 3.

Veterinarians requesting testing due to a bite or symptomatic animal, or who are looking for assistance with rabies titer testing for staff should call 845-808-1390.

Healthcare providers looking to discuss rabies treatment or prophylaxis for a patient should call 845-808-1390.

Feral Cat Task Force

The Putnam County Department of Health partnered with Putnam AdvoCats, Inc. to create a Feral Cat Taskforce which involves the trapping, neutering, vaccinating and release of feral cats in the area. This is an attempt to address a growing health concern in the county. Feral cats are cats that do not have owners and may be strays and account for a significant number of required rabies treatments. The Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) concept is a humane and effective approach used for decades in the US after being proven in

Europe. Scientific studies show that this practice improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time. Working with volunteers from Putnam AdvoCats, Inc., and area veterinarians, the ultimate goal is to decrease the population of feral cats in our community over time and thereby reducing the risk of rabies. For help with feral cats or to report a feral cat colony, please call the health department at 845-808-1390.

Rabies F.A.Q.s

  • What should I do if bitten by a wild animal?

    • Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
    • Capture the animal, if possible, so it can be tested. Take care to prevent additional bites or damage to the animal’s head.
    • Call the Putnam County Health Department as soon as possible at (845) 808-1390. If it is outside of normal business hours please dial (845) 808-1390 ext. 3. An employee will call you back.
    • SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE PROMPTLY. It is best to contact the Health Department first, but you may call your own doctor for advice.
    • If necessary, a dead animal may be kept on ice, double bagged in plastic, until it can be tested. The Putnam County Health Department will arrange for testing. Always wear gloves, use a shovel and clean the area and tools with one part bleach to 10 parts water. Keep the dead animal in a protected area away from people and other animals.
  • What should I do if bitten by a pet dog or cat?

    • Immediately wash the wound with lots of soap and running water.
    • Obtain the pet owner’s name, address, and telephone number.  Find out if the animal has a current rabies vaccination, write down the rabies tag number and obtain Veterinarian information.
    • Call the Putnam County Health Department as soon as possible at (845) 808-1390. If it is outside of normal business hours please dial (845) 808-1390 ext. 3. An employee will call you back.
    • SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE PROMPTLY.  It is best to contact the Health Department first, but you may call your own doctor for advice.
  • What should I provide when reporting an incident?

    • Type and description of animal including any features or marks;
    • If it was a pet, whether it wore a collar or tags and where it lives;
    • How the bite occurred;
    • Whether the animal has been seen in the area before and what direction it was traveling
  • What should I do if I see a wild animal?

    • Stay away and keep your children away.
    • Keep pets indoors.
    • Let the animal go away on its own.
    • You may call a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee.
  • What should I do if a wild animal is threatening people or pets?

    Call the local police or during business hours call the Putnam County Health Department at (845) 808-1390.

  • What should I do if my pet is exposed to an animal that might be rabid?

    If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of Rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely destroyed.

    • Wear gloves to handle your pet.  Saliva from the rabid animal may be on your pet’s fur. Do not touch your face after handling the pet unless you have removed gloves and thoroughly washed your hands.
    • Isolate your pet from other animals and people for several hours.
    • Call the Putnam County Health Department for advice.
    • Call your veterinarian.  Vaccinated pets will need a rabies booster shot within five days of the attack.
    • An unvaccinated pet must be quarantined for six months or humanely destroyed.
  • What can I do to protect myself against Rabies?

    • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild or stray animals.
    • Vaccinate your pets: Be sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their Rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and man. Protect them, and you may reduce your risk of exposure to Rabies. Vaccines for dogs and cats after three months of age are effective for a one-year period. Re-vaccinations are effective for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors.
    • Keep family pets indoors at night. Feed pets indoors and never leave them out doors unattended. Don’t leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
    • Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods which may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
    • Tell children not to touch any animal they do not know: Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten by any animal.
    • Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to your County health authority.
    • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors alert neighbors who are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee.
    • Keep a pair of work gloves in hand in case your pet is attacked.
  • Where can I learn more?

    Each County health authority in New York State has a plan to respond to Rabies. Contact the health department at 845-808-1390  for details regarding human treatment and animal submission/shipment for testing. After hours, please call (845) 808-1390 ext. 3.

  • What if I find a bat in my house?

    Four percent of bats test positive for Rabies. If there is any chance that the bat had contact with a person or pet, however, the bat should be captured and tested for rabies. If you find a bat in your house, call the Putnam County Health Department at (845) 808-1390

    If there was any chance that contact with a person or pet occurred, or you are not sure if contact occurred, DO NOT release the bat.  Call the Putnam County Health Department to arrange for the bat to be tested for rabies.

    • Turn on room lights and close the windows.
    • Close the room and closet doors.
    • Wait for the bat to land.
    • Wearing gloves, place a coffee can, pail, or similar container over the bat.
    • Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat.
    • Firmly hold the cardboard in place against the top of the container, turn it right side up and tape the cardboard tightly to the container.

Pet Owner F.A.Q.s

  • What pet owners need to know about Rabies vaccination requirements

    State law requires rabies vaccinations (shots) for all cats, dogs and domesticated ferrets!

    Effective November 20, 2002, this information must be provided by pet dealers to consumers upon point of sale of cats, dogs, and ferrets.

  • Fines

    If your dog, cat or domesticated ferret is not vaccinated, is not up-to-date on its vaccinations, or is not properly confined after biting someone, as the owner you will be subject to a fine not to exceed $200 for each offense.

  • Exemptions

    The vaccination requirements shall not apply to any dog, cat, domesticated ferret if the animal is transported through New York state and remains in the state 15 days or less; the animal is confined to the premises of an incorporated society devoted to the care of lost, stray or homeless animals; a licensed veterinarian has determined that the vaccination will adversely affect the animal’s health; the animal is confined to the premises of a college or other educational or research institution for research purposes; or if the animal is un-owned (feral, wild, not socialized).

  • When should my pet receive its first Rabies vaccination?

    The law requires that your pet’s first rabies vaccination be given no later than four months after its date of birth. Many rabies vaccines are licensed for use at three months, although some may be given at younger ages.

  • When should my pet receives its second Rabies vaccination?

    Your pet should receive its second rabies vaccination within one year after the first vaccination.  The second rabies shot and all shots thereafter are sometimes called booster shots.

  • When is the booster shot due?

    After the second rabies shot, you only need to get additional booster shots every three years, if the vaccination clinic or your veterinarian is using a rabies vaccine licensed for three years.

  • What proof will I have that my pet received is rabies shots?

    The veterinarian, or a person under the veterinarian’s supervision, will provide you with a certificate as proof that your pet has been vaccinated.  The veterinarian’s office will also keep a copy of your pet’s vaccination certificate.  The law requires the veterinarian to provide the vaccination certificate to any public health official for any case involving your dog, cat or ferret that may have been exposed to rabies, or in any case of possible exposure of a person or another animal to rabies.

  • What if my pet needs to be taken to the veterinarian?

    Whenever you bring your pet to a veterinarian, s/he will verify if the animal is up-to-date on its rabies shots.  If the animal is not up-to-date on its rabies shots or is exempt due to a medical condition, or if the veterinarian cannot find proof of the animal’s rabies vaccination history, you may request your pet be vaccinated at that time.

  • If my pet bites a person, does it have to be euthanized?

    If your pet bites a person and you wish to avoid euthanizing and testing it for rabies, it must be confined and observed for ten days. During the ten-day confinement period, the county or a designated party must verify that your pet is under confinement and observation, and has remained healthy during and at the end of the ten-day period.

Contact Us

  • Phone:
    845-808-1390
  • Fax:
    845-278-7921
  • Fax (Nursing):
    845-279-4104
  • Toll free (TTY) for the Deaf, Hard
    of Hearing, and Speech Impaired:
    Dial 7-1-1 or 800-662-1220
  • Email:
    PutnamHealth@putnamcountyny.gov
In the event of an emergency, Health Department staff are available 24/7. Please call 845-808-1390 to report a public health emergency, rabies exposure, communicable disease, water outage or sewer overflow.

If you are a member of the media and would like to contact the health department, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Putnam County Office Building

40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, New York 10512

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