NORTH ADAMS — In response to a confirmed case of rabies in the Chase Hill neighborhood, several government agencies and local animal organizations are teaming up to offer free rabies vaccinations today, in addition to a coordinated effort to trap and treat feral and wild cats in the area.
The rabies clinic will be held from noon until 6 p.m. today, at 81 River St., for all cats and dogs who live within a half-mile of the Chase Hill area. In addition, cat's brought to the clinic will be eligible to receive a free microchip identification procedure, and pet owners will receive more information about how they can spay or neuter their cats for free.
In an effort to further stem a spread of rabies, Thursday's clinic will be followed this weekend with a coordinated effort to capture and spay or neuter feral and wild cats in the neighborhood.
The trapping will occur this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and cat owners are being asked to keep their pets inside on those days to avoid them being taken accidentally.
After the trapped cats are vaccinated and spayed or neutered, they will be released to the area in which they were captured.
The cat that prompted this community response reportedly scratched a child and eventually tested positive for rabies on June 2, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright. The city then used its emergency notification system to alert nearby residents of the issue and ask them to be on the lookout for sick animals, he said.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, rabies is "fairly common" in Massachusetts. While animals may act aggressively if they are infected, it is not always possible to spot or confirm a rabid animal by behavior alone.
The mayor said the collaborating agencies and organizations for this rabies response project include the city of North Adams, Animal Fund, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Berkshire Humane Society, Animal Dreams, Second Chance Animal Shelter, Greylock Animal Hospital and Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376