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Record amount of rabies prevention, treatment funding in new New York budget

State Sen. Patty Ritchie said the recently passed New York state budget includes a record amount of funding for rabies prevention and treatment. State lawmakers allocated more than $600,000 for prevention and research efforts, such as funding Cornell University's program that distributes rabies vaccines to wild animals with low-flying planes and low-cost rabies clinics for pets. There is also 150,000 dollars to help local governments pay for treatment once someone is bitten by an infected animal, which Ritchie said is expensive.

"If someone has insurance, the insurance picks up the first part, but the county remaining balance," Ritchie said. "If someone doesn't have coverage for that then the county picks up the entire treatment and its thousands of dollars so its a pretty significant cost to counties."

More than 300 animals tested positive for rabies in New York state last year. In Jefferson County alone, there were eight rabid skunks just this winter.