“We are participating with the Bartow County 4-H club mainly to raise money for the 4-H’ers so they can go to camp and [to aid] the different programs they’re involved in,” Tally said. “Rabies is a deadly disease. It’s transmitted only to animals and is usually transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal, the saliva gets into the nerves of the victim, and it eventually travels to the brain and causes death.
“Once you become bitten by a rabid animal, unless you get therapy, it’s a deadly disease.”
He said while there has been a decrease in cases of dogs contracting the disease, there has been an increase in cats testing positive for rabies due to owners not vaccinating their pets.
“Cats are big hunters and getting them vaccinated, of course, will keep them from getting rabies after being exposed to other animals out in the wild,” Tally said.
According to a press release, the clinic also will benefit Tally’s Animal Angel Tree program, which helps fund emergency animal operations for existing clients.
The press release further states, “There will be one clinic with Dr. Tally from [9 to 11 a.m.] at Cartersville First Baptist Church located at 241 Douthit Ferry Road, Cartersville ... Pet owners are urged to keep their animal on a leash inside their vehicle for safety reasons. All owners will be required to hold their animal for the veterinarian at each location.
“Because there will be only 300 to 400 vaccinations available, the clinic will be on a first-come, first-served basis and each vaccination will cost $10, cash only. The clinic is open to all cats and dogs three months and older that are not pregnant. The rabies vaccination is required by state law because it is one of the few illnesses contractible from household pets to humans. In Bartow, the vaccinations are required every year.
“Rabies is a virus carried by animals, primarily raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats, which can be transmitted by saliva or brain tissue. Humans can be infected when saliva or brain tissue of a rabid animal gets in the mouth, eyes or blood — typically, rabies is spread through an animal bite or scratch.
“Dogs, cats and livestock also can contract rabies. A rabid animal may act tame or show signs of aggression. An infected animal also may display strange behavior, such as avoiding water, foaming at the mouth or having difficulty moving. It is advised to stay away from all stray or wild animals.
“If bitten by a rabid animal, treatment must begin soon after to prevent infection. If left untreated, rabies is 100 percent fatal. Residents are asked to report any suspicious animal to the environmental health office of the Bartow County Health Department at 770-387-2614 or Bartow County Animal Control at 770-387-5153. If a pet is bitten by another animal suspected of carrying rabies, call the Bartow County authorities, a veterinarian or the Georgia Poison Center 24/7 at 800-282-5846.”
Madison Holman, a 10th-grade home school student and 4-H member since sixth grade, said she enjoys participating in service projects that help the people and animals of Bartow County.
“I think its important because with the rabies vaccinations, we’re not only protecting our animals, we’re protecting other people,” Holman said. “It’s a great way to help our community because some people can’t afford to get their animals to get vaccinated, and with this we provide a cheaper way to ... get their animals protected [in order] to protect other people’s families and their animals.”
The Northwest Georgia Department of Public Health offers the following suggestions to protect animals, and humans, from rabies:
• Make sure pets get their rabies shots regularly.
• Keep pets in the yard, on a leash or in the home at all times.
• Do not leave garbage or pet food outside. Food left outside may attract wild or stray animals.
• Stay away from wild, sick, hurt or dead animals. Do not pick up or move sick or hurt animals. If a wild, sick or hurt animal is found, call Bartow County Animal Control.
• Do not keep wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes or wolves as pets. It is dangerous and illegal.
The Bartow County 4-H Club is pleased to be able to offer this valuable service to residents. The focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens through “hands-on” learning experiences. The activities of the program and the support of caring adult leaders provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, self-worth and appreciation for the environment. 4-H is part of the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. To obtain more information about the Bartow County 4-H Club, contact Allison Perkins at the UGA Cooperative Extension Service at 770-387-5142.