Garner, N.C. — Long lines and up to an hourlong wait didn't deter 467 people from paying $5 for their pets' rabies vaccines during a three-hour clinic at Quest Fellowship Church in Garner Thursday.
Pet owners said they weren't taking any chances after an unvaccinated purebred Akita named Sue contracted rabies in the Hillington West subdivision last week and had to be euthanized. Three other neighborhood dogs that came into contact with her also died.
"It (rabies) could do a lot of damage to your animals, yourself, the public, so you want to make sure that you keep them up to date," pet owner Tracy Cattano said.
Joe Perkins brought his hunting pack to get vaccinated.
"I'm a hunter, and when I turn them loose, I'm taking a risk if I don't have them vaccinated," he said.
State law requires owners to have their pets vaccinated by six months, with a booster shot a year later, and then to get a rabies shot every three years.
Wake County Animal Control veternarians said demand for rabies vaccines is high in the wake of the dogs' deaths and other incidents involving rabid bats, beavers and foxes. Thursday's clinic drew more than twice the normal amount of people. More rabies clinics will be held throughout Wake County this fall.
Rabies is a serious threat, veternarians said.
"If people get exposed, you need to be treated right away," said veternarian Jennifer Federic, with Wake County Animal Center. "If your pets get exposed, it's never good. You can't treat it."