Rabies and Pet Licensing
Every year in Montgomery County, an average of 50 animals are confirmed to be rabid by laboratory analysis. While most of these animals are wild animals such as raccoons or foxes, there have been several rabid cats in Montgomery County over the last 5 years.
The fact that rabies has been found in cats in Montgomery County is of great concern because it shows the disease migrating from the wild animal population into domestic animals. Once the domestic animal population is affected by rabies, it becomes far more likely that a human will be exposed. The best way to protect our community and our children is to ensure that all dogs and cats have a current rabies shot and are licensed with the County. Keeping domestic animals vaccinated erects a barrier to keep rabies away from humans.
For more information, contact the Division at 240-773-5960 or 240-773-5925. Recorded information and answers to frequently asked questions are available 24 hours a day at 240-773-5054.
Free Rabies Vaccination Clinics
The Division sponsors rabies clinics at the County animal shelter in Rockville. These clinics are open to dogs, cats and ferrets. The clinics are staffed by licensed veterinarians and experienced animal handlers. The rabies vaccination is free for pets owned by Montgomery County residents, and County licenses may be purchased at the clinic. All pets must be leashed or in carriers at the clinic. For more information, call 240-773-5925 during business hours. Recorded information is available 24-hours a day at 240-773-5946.
At the clinics, the rabies vaccination will be administered by a participating veterinarian at no charge for dogs and cats owned by residents of Montgomery County. There will be a minimal $4.00 charge for ferrets and out of county pets. County residents, as well as residents of the City of Rockville and the City of Gaithersburg, will be required to purchase a pet license if their pet is not currently licensed.
Clinic location: The Montgomery County Animal Shelter
14645 Rothgeb Drive (just off East Gude Drive)
Rockville, MD 20850
2012 Rabies Clinic Dates and Hours
All clinics will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m. (noon)
April 15 May 20 June 17 July 15 August 19 September 16
Vaccination and Licensing Requirements
All dogs and cats 4 months of age or older must have a current rabies vaccination and a County license. The rabies tag provided by your veterinarian is NOT a County license -- the license must be purchased separately.
Licensing Fees -
- Dog/cat under one year of age - FREE
- Altered dog/cat over one year of age - $12 per year
- Unaltered dog/cat over one year of age - $25 per year
Licenses can be purchased through the mail if your dog or cat has a current rabies vaccination. To obtain an application, call the Licensing Unit at 240-773-5946.Or print this PDF file from this link and mail to the address on form.
Report Animal Bites
Under state and county health laws, any person with knowledge that an animal has bitten or scratched a person must report the bite promptly to the Division of Animal Control and Humane Treatment. Medical personnel also have a duty to report to the Division anytime they treat a patient for animal bites. Prompt reporting allows for proper investigation and quarantine to prevent the possibility that the victim will contract rabies. To report a bite, call the Division at 240-773-5960 or 240-773-5925. After hours, call 240-773-5900.
Steps to Prevent Rabies
- Only approach domestic animals that are known to you.
- Avoid all contact with wild animals.
- Make sure that your dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination and County license.
- Keep dogs under control or on a leash. Keep cats safely indoors.
- Do not treat raccoons or other wild animals as if they were pets. Do not leave food out for raccoons, including leftover dog food, table scraps and large bird seeds.
- Close off all entrances to chimneys, attics, garages or sheds which can provide a nesting site for raccoons. Install heavy 26-guage wire screen on chimney openings and flues.
- Use metal garbage cans that have secure lids. Plastic cans should have snap covers, but are not as secure. Ammonia can be sprayed or poured into plastic garbage bags to discourage raccoons from feeding.
- Most human exposures to rabies occur when people attempt to rescue sick or hurt wild animals that, upon testing, are rabid.
- Another frequent indirect exposure occurs when people handle their pets without gloves after the pet has had an encounter with a wild animal. Rabies virus in saliva on the pet's fur can be transmitted through a break in the person's skin for up to 2 hours after the saliva has been deposited on the fur.
- If you see a wild animal exhibiting abnormal behavior, call the Division at 240-773-5960 or 240-773-5925. After hours, call 240-773-5900.
- Avoid all wild and stray animals, especially RACCOONS!