Dogs line up for shots

BURBANK — Hundreds waited for hours at the most crowded dog vaccination clinic in the Burbank Animal Shelter’s history Saturday, with many hoping to take advantage of low fees, they said.

Animal control officers had to order more vaccines to keep up with the high demand for shots during the two-hour clinic, which ran long after the planned 11 a.m. ending time as pet owners, their dogs in tow, continued to join the line at the headquarters of the Burbank Police and Fire departments.

“It’s the biggest turnout we’ve had,” said Denise Fleck, public relations manager for the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, which organized the clinic.

The organization has promoted the clinic for more than 20 years as an opportunity for dog owners to keep their pets and themselves healthy, but its $24 tab for three vaccinations was likely the main draw Saturday, Fleck said.

“With the economy, a lot of people are looking to cut back,” Fleck said.

That price was less than half what a veterinarian might charge for a vaccination and office visit, said Alan Smith, a retired veterinarian who was administering the shots.

Although the strong demand for the low-cost vaccines was likely taking business away from area veterinarians, they offered an incentive for pet owners to get the shots for their dogs, instead of perhaps putting off the procedure and putting them at risk of infections, Smith said.

“I guess overall it’s good for the dogs, and that’s important,” he said.

The wait was two hours for Burbank resident Ruben Segura and his 8-year-old German shepherd, who reached the front of the line at 11 a.m. The line was just as long then as it was when he joined it, Segura said.

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to get your vaccine taken care of for a very reasonable price, especially during this economic time,” he said.

Gloria Pastran, of Burbank, was at the back of the line and had already waited for half an hour. She had come to the clinic with her two terriers in the past and did not previously have to wait in a long line, so she expected to get her dogs vaccinated quickly this year, at the tail end of the event.

“When I saw the line I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Pastran said. “That’s why we came in kind of late. We expected people to already have come in and gone.”

Most visitors credited the organization’s increased promotional efforts, through advertisements sent with utility bills or announcements in print, for drawing more visitors than before.

But they also cited the convenience and low cost of the clinic as an important draw that would keep them in line for as long as it might take to be served.

“I don’t mind waiting in line outside because it’s good for them to be outside,” Burbank resident Leslie Strunk said of her two terriers. “And it’s good for them to be around other dogs. So it’s kind of a social thing.”

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