Paws and Protect program gives rabies shots, microchips

Published: Feb. 27, 2021 at 5:45 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Paws and Protect is a police-sponsored program that allows pet owners to get free rabies vaccinations and $10 microchipping. The only requirement is that pets are licensed. If not, they can do that on the spot too. Almost half of expected participants this year registered their pets online in advance.

“It’s really important for animals to be rabies vaccinated. It is required by law, and then the microchipping is important because if somebody loses their animal, we can scan for the microchip and they can find their owners again,” said Veterinary Technician Callie Nueske.

Paws and Protect is the pet project of Wausau Police Humane Officer Ashlee Bishop.

She’s able to make the event affordable, because the people who staff the event are volunteers. That includes public safety cadets, emergency police, dog trainers and handlers, community service officers and vet staff. The vet offices that participate also donate the rabies vaccines.

In past years they would schedule two events, one in February and one in March, ahead of the March 31 deadline to license pets.

“This year we’re only going to host one due to COVID, but we’re making it a little bit longer today to allow for walk-ins,” said Bishop

The pandemic has caused many to take extra steps in performing routine tasks, often making daily life slower. But Bishop said the precautions have actually sped up the process. She said they got through 40 animals in the first hour, and she expects to see around 200 for the day.

“So the pre-registration definitely helped mitigate some of the in-person contacts because we aren’t having to sit at the vehicles as long, and then this year we are also having our volunteers bring the animals in, so the owners are staying in their vehicles, lessening the amount of contact the staff and the volunteers are having,” she said.

In Wisconsin it is state law to register your dogs. As far as cats go, that varies by jurisdiction.

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