Vaccinate adopted pets
If you're adopting a dog or a cat for Christmas and don't know its medical history, the Allegheny County Health Department recommends taking it to a vet for a checkup and vaccination to protect your family and new pet from the deadly rabies virus.
When you adopt from a shelter, generally the dog or cat already will be examined and vaccinated but still check to make sure. If it isn't, take the animal to a vet yourself.
The advice is strongly recommended for stray dogs or cats that are taken in as pets, since the background of these animals can't be known and they are more likely to have come in contact with wildlife that may carry the rabies virus, especially raccoons.
Strays and abandoned pets are at higher risk of contracting rabies because rabid raccoon reports in the County have more than doubled, from five in 2005 to 11 so far this year.