Following the success of Loudoun County Animal Services (LCAS)’ first, free rabies vaccination event, plans are being made for another event later this year.
On Friday, July 17, 2020, LCAS held a clinic at Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park, where 333 animals—241 dogs and 92 cats—received a rabies vaccine and/or a license, more than twice the number of the previous largest low-cost clinic offered by LCAS.
With over 40 low-cost, pet vaccine clinics sponsored by other organizations in Loudoun County canceled due to COVID-19, LCAS recognized the critical need for accessible vaccination services and began planning for the event as soon as Virginia entered Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia reopening plan.
In addition to providing free rabies vaccines, all dog owners at the event were given a free, one-year Loudoun County dog license, thanks to a one-time gift from the Animal Program Trust Fund. “People may think of dog licenses as just a tag,” says Humane Law Enforcement Chief Chris Brosan, “but, even when a dog is not wearing their tag, we are able to review our license records quickly when a dog is found, and it is through licensing that more than 80% of our lost dogs are able to find their way back home.”
The need for the clinic was apparent as community members lined up for services starting early that morning. “We heard from numerous community members who are struggling financially right now,” said LCAS Director Nina Stively. “COVID-19 is forcing people to make difficult changes in their lives, but we want to make sure we are here to support our community and help them keep their pets healthy and with the families who love them.”
In response to the success of the event, the Friends of Loudoun County Animal Services has begun fundraising for another clinic in the fall to include low-cost microchipping, along with rabies vaccinations. Interested Loudoun County residents should watch the LCAS webpage and social media for a future date. Donations to support future free and low-cost clinics can be made at www.flcas.org.
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