The summer is a great time not just for us to get out and play but it allows our pets some nice weather and surfaces to run around and enjoy.

There are plenty of free roaming and feral animals out there though so it's important to take the measures needed to make sure your pet is safe and healthy.

On Friday, the Ocean County Health Department announced that free rabies clinics will resume at the Northern and Southern Ocean County Animal Facilities.

Due to the ongoing pandemic COVID-19 social distancing standards must be followed though during the clinics with both staff and pet owners being required to wear face coverings.

“Pet owners that have been waiting to have their pets inoculated for rabies can now call either of the two county animal facilities to schedule an appointment for this free animal care service provided by the Ocean County Health Department,” Ocean County Freeholder Gerry Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health, said. “Pet parents are asked to abide by all social distancing measures and shelter rules for the protection and safety of all the pets, owners and staff.”

Rabies vaccinations are by appointment only and members of the public are encouraged to register for the Northern Ocean County Facility clinic on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 732-657-8086.

The Southern Ocean County Animal Facility clinics will take place on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and the public should call 609-978-0127.

When you arrive you'll be met by an OCAF staff member car side to fill out the necessary paperwork and you're encouraged to allow their pet to be taken into the building to receive the rabies vaccine while you remain in the car.

As soon as the pet gets vaccinated, they will be returned to the vehicle.

OCHD officials said that should your pet require your assistance, "only one member of the public and his or her pet shall be permitted to enter the building with a staff member for the vaccination."

“It’s so important pet parents have their cat or dog vaccinated against the rabies virus,” Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye said. “There is no cure for this deadly disease - for animals or people - but being vaccinated is the next best thing to protecting the pets especially with summer here and the increased risk of potential face-to-face meetings with wildlife.”

Both animal facilities are open for adoptions, reclaims and surrenders but by appointment only.

Residents searching for a new pet are encouraged to visit the OCHD website at www.ochd.org and petfinder.com for pets available for adoption at either facility.

All OCAF pets receive age-appropriate vaccines, are micro chipped and spayed or neutered.

“We are heading right smack into the heart of kitten season and will soon have dozens of cute adorable kittens available throughout much of the summer and fall. If you’re seriously considering adopting a kitten or - even a cat or dog – this is certainly the right time,” Regenye said.

The Southern Ocean County Animal Facility is located at 360 Haywood Road in Manahawkin.

The Northern Ocean County Animal Facility is at 615 Fremont Street in Jackson.

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