Miami-Dade Animal Services announces plan to vaccinate wildlife

Vaccine in ketchup-like packet will prevent spread of rabies, officials say

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade Animal Services has teamed up with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to announce a new plan to vaccinate wildlife and further prevent the spread of rabies.

The vaccine is put inside what looks like a ketchup packet. According to officials at Miami-Dade Animal Services, the vaccine goes into the bloodstream when the animal bites it.

On Friday, animal services unveiled the plan to vaccinate wildlife and increase their immunity against rabies.

"The program will be done every six months, and approximately 275,000 packets of rabies vaccine will be distributed county-wide," said Peter Cuervo, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade Animal Services. "The rabies program targets wildlife, such things as raccoons, coyotes and foxes that live in our community."

A little under 300,000 packets with the vaccine will be hidden by dumpsters, lakes and waterways.

You'll probably smell it before you see them.

Wrapped in fish meal, authorities said the ketchup-like packets will not harm the animals as they likely taste it and spit it out. But the vaccine will already be in their bloodstream. 

The program comes after several cases and rabid animal alerts last year.

"We had 11 cases with raccoons, two were cats and one was an otter that hit a man," the official said. 

Authorities said the packet is safe if your pet comes across it, although they will likely have an upset stomach.