It’s going to be a zoo at the Doña Ana County Government Center on Friday, Sept. 30, in conjunction with World Rabies Awareness activities during the week.

The Doña Ana County Special Projects Office is teaming up with the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley (ASCMV), Action Programs for Animals (APA), the Spay/Neuter Action Program (SNAP), and the Humane Society of Southern New Mexico (HSSNM) to coordinate a rabies-only vaccination clinic, pet adoptions and a pet-food drive for low-income families.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the north lawn of the Doña Ana County Government Center. Tents will be erected for shade, and veterinarians will be on hand to administer and document all vaccinations.

Rabies vaccinations will be provided free from APA, SNAP, and HSSNM for pet owners who can show proof of government assistance (e.g., receipt of SSA/SSD/SSI, unemployment, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.). Pet owners without public-assistance documentation will pay $5 per vaccination. The event is open only to residents of Doña Ana County.

APA's Pet Food Bank volunteers will be on hand to accept cash and/or pet food donations to assist in their ongoing efforts to provide quality pet food to families who are struggling in the present economic environment. In addition, SNAP volunteers will be on hand to issue spay/neuter vouchers to qualified low-income families.

Fees are $35 for dogs and $25 for cats (cash only). SNAP's accepted income documentation includes a federal tax return, letter of SSA/SSD/SSI receipt, unemployment letter, and a photo I.D.

Personnel from the ASCMV will facilitate pet adoptions throughout the event. Adoption fees are $75 for dogs/puppies and $50 for cats/kittens. The fee includes the first set of vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchip.

Microchipping for pets that already have homes will be available to the public for $20, and city pet licenses will be available to neutered pets for $5 each. Licenses for unneutered pets are $25 each. Proof of spay/neuter is required before a $5 license will be issued. Pet owners also must bring current proof of rabies vaccination for each animal to be licensed, or a license can be obtained after receiving a vaccination at the event.

To speed up the vaccination process, pet owners are asked to come with documentation for each pet specifying the following information: Owner’s name and physical address, telephone number, pet’s name, species (dog or cat), breed, color, gender, age, weight and whether the animal has been neutered. Please also provide the name of the pet’s regular veterinarian.

In an effort to keep wait times to a minimum, three veterinarians – Elizabeth Carver, Laura Henckel and Jean K. Wolfgang – will be on hand to administer vaccinations.

All dogs must be leashed and fully controlled at all times. All cats must be in secured transport crates. Cardboard boxes are not acceptable for cat transports.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews: may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.