Earlier this month two nonprofit organizations, A Hope of Santa Rosa County and Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), hosted a clinic offering inexpensive microchips and rabies vaccines — and they were met with a long line of animal owners.
“We did 260 rabies vaccines and 150 microchips,” said Brandi Winkleman, executive director for A Hope. “The only reason we didn’t do more was because we ran out.”
This Saturday, the two organizations are partnering up again to offer $5 rabies vaccine and $10 microchip for pets three months and older. Winkleman said they’re prepared for 500 animals.
The clinic is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the A Hope office in Milton located at, 5755 Washington St. It fits in with A Hope’s mission to advocate for responsible pet ownership.
“This service not only helps pet owners, but also helps the shelters return animals to owners at a faster rate,” Winkleman said.
Rabies is a community issue. On May 31, the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County issued a rabies alert for the City of Milton, which is in effect until late July. Pet owners will have the option of a one-year rabies vaccine or three-year for $20, owners just need to show their one-year certificate.
With hurricane season in effect, Winkleman says getting animals vaccinated now should be part a part of preparation.
“It’s for the overall health of the community,” she added. “And you want to do the right thing for your animals. You just never, ever know. You have to be prepared and not just wait for disaster.”
The rabies and microchip clinic is open to everyone and there is no limit on animals per household. Just bring cash and “only as many animals as you can hold,” Winkleman said.
“It’s a walk up clinic and we have limited parking,” she added. “But you can wait in the car for lines to go down before you come up.”
There’s no annual fee on the microchip and all pet owners will receive a certificate and tag for rabies vaccinations.
A Hope is also continuing its mission to reduce the overpopulation of pets in Santa Rosa County. Thanks to a $26,500 grant from Sunday’s Child, the nonprofit is able to subsidize fees for spaying/neutering surgeries along with rabies vaccine and microchip. The program is cleverly called “Fix and Chips.”
“For owned cats, the fee is $30 and $45 for dogs under 50 pounds,” Winkleman said.
Further down the road, A Hope is under contract on an eight-acre property in Allentown where a future vet clinic will be to offer low-cost services and house at-risk animals from the county shelter.
“We have big plans,” Winkleman said.
For more information about A Hope, visit facebook.com/ahope4src