It's hard to believe that it's already time for this, but your pet licenses are due for renewal again.
Most towns give pet owners through the month of March to get it done, but there is some variation among the municipalities so check with your town hall to be sure of the deadline. I'm reminding you now because your pet must have a current rabies vaccine in order to get the license and the free clinics have already begun.
The schedule is posted at the end of this column, cut it out and stick it to your refrigerator so that you'll have it. You should be able to get the information online, but Vineland's clinics are separate from the county Health Department so you won't find them all in one place. It doesn't matter what town you live in - you can go to any clinic. The advantage of going to a clinic that is hosted in your municipality is that you can often get your pet licensed at the same time instead of having to make a separate trip to the municipal building.
There are a few of things you should keep in mind when you go.
First of all, when a dog or cat gets its first rabies vaccine, it is good for a period of one year. Once they have that, they can receive a three-year vaccine but you MUST bring written proof of the date they were last vaccinated in order to qualify.
Second, clinics are typically very busy and chaotic, so the animals get very nervous. Take every precaution to have them properly restrained. Put dogs in collars that will not slip off their heads and keep them on a very short leash. They should never be more than two feet from you or closer than four feet from the dog in front or behind you while waiting in line. Absolutely no extendable leashes; they are an accident waiting to happen. If you have trouble handling your dog, take someone with you that can help. Cats should be in a carrier made for transporting animals. Before you crate your cat, check that all the screws or clamps are tightly secure and check that the door is properly locked once you put them in.
Finally, whether or not you take advantage of the free clinics, get your pet licensed! It is legal proof of ownership in the New Jersey. Should your pet get loose and picked up by animal control, you need proof of ownership and of a current rabies vaccine to avoid tickets or to at least suffer the minimum penalty.
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cats only.
876 E. Sherman Ave., Vineland, 11:30 a.m.to 1 p.m., Cats only.
▶ March 7, Saturday, Fairfield Township Hall, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m., 70 Fairton-Gouldtown Road.
▶ March 14, Saturday, Commercial Township Fire Hall, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Battle Lane, Laurel Lake;
Cedarville Fire Hall 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., 30 Maple Ave, Cedarville (Hosting Downe Twp.)
▶ March 21, Saturday, Maurice River Township, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Leesburg Fire Hall, 550 Main Street, Leesburg;
Hopewell Municipal Building 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., 590 Shiloh Pike, Bridgeton (Hosting Greenwich, Shiloh & Stow Creek)
▶ March 28, Saturday, Deerfield Township Municipal Bldg, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 736 Landis Avenue, Rosenhayn (Hosting Upper Deerfield Twp.);
Cumberland County Fairgrounds 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Carmel Road, Millville.
▶ March 31, Saturday, Carl Arthur Center, 217 N. 3rd St., Vineland, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Dogs only; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cats only.
▶ April 4, Saturday, Bridgeton Fire Hall, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Orange Street, Bridgeton;
Hopewell Municipal Building 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.