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Discussion Starter #1
Since rabbies is the only vaccine required by law, I wonder if anyone knows what would actually happen if my dog bit someone and was not vaccinated. I can only imagine her biting someone accidentally, if she was playing bitey faces with another dog. Still - I'd like to know what would be the possible consequence if it happened. I found a vet that is willing to write that for medical reasons (Chocolata had a mass cell tumor) she can't be vaccinated.

How would I get away from vaccinating a healthy dog for rabbies?

Maybe I worry too much, but I live in a busy area near by lake where everyone has dogs. Since we have some dog beaches, etc. sometimes police checks the rabbies tag.
 

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Not a lawyer, but its my understanding that when rabies is suspected, vets have two choices - quarantine for two weeks or euthanize and test for rabies immediately.

Titering is another option, but not all jurisdictions accept a titer in lieu of vaccines. Best to talk to your vet and/or your local animal control
 

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kaytris said:
Titering is another option, but not all jurisdictions accept a titer in lieu of vaccines. Best to talk to your vet and/or your local animal control
Unfortunately most places do not accept the titer. Even for AKC's CGC test they require proof of rabies, as does Therapy Dog International. So, due to the law and the fact that I do take Caleb to Canada and his Therapy Dog work I had his holistic vet do it so she could monitor him and give him the appropriate doeses of what he needed immediately. That is the only way I would do it. The Rabies Challenge Fund is seeking to raise money to do the research so that a titer would be accepted or a seven year rabies. I had some of the same concerns as you regarding the rabies shot--what if something did happen that he did bite someone or if we were randomly checked, which does happen.
 

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They can not seize and euthanize your dog...even if he bites a person!!!!
 

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depends on the jurisdiction. Animal Control Laws vary from place to place... your best bet for accurate information is your civic government.
 

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I think the current rabies control ordinance for the United States is state, not municipal.
They have the right to quarantine your dog but not to destroy it UNLESS it shows signs of rabies during the examination or quarantine. The usualy quarantine period is 10 days.
It is likely the same in Canada as I've been bit by several dogs, some of whom have not been vaccinated and a quarantine at home is all they required.

Here is an excerpt from the federal guidelines approved by the AVMA:

Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets that are Not Currently Vaccinated Against Rabies

A dog, cat, or ferret that is not currently vaccinated against rabies, that bites or reportedly bites a human will be considered a rabies suspect and will be seized by the Rabies Control Authority and quarantined under such conditions as are outlined in an official quarantine order issued by the Rabies Control Authority or Public Health Official. The quarantine shall be conducted under the supervision of a veterinarian, for a period of not less than 10 days from the date of the bite. Alternatively, at the discretion of the Rabies Control Authority or Public Health Official the animal may be humanely euthanatized and tested for rabies in an approved laboratory. Quarantined animals may be treated by a veterinarian, but rabies vaccine should not be administered to the animal until the quarantine period is complete.

The rabies suspect dog, cat, or ferret will be examined by a licensed veterinarian at the beginning and at the end of the quarantine period, to determine its health status. The results of the examination will be recorded and communicated to the Rabies Control Authority, the Public Health Official, and the owner.

If at any point during the quarantine period or upon examination, the dog, cat, or ferret shows signs of illness compatible with rabies, the Rabies Control Authority or the Public Health Official will order the immediate humane euthanasia and rabies testing of the quarantined animal in an approved laboratory after conferring with the examining veterinarian.

If at the end of the quarantine period the dog, cat, or ferret shows no signs of illness compatible with rabies, it may be released from quarantine with the approval of the Rabies Control Authority or the Public Health Official. Prior to its release, the dog, cat, or ferret will be vaccinated against rabies at the owner's expense. Alternatively, the dog, cat, or ferret will be vaccinated within 72 hours of release. The owner will pay to the Rabies Control Authority a prescribed rabies vaccination deposit that will be reimbursed upon the presentation of proof of rabies vaccination by a private veterinarian.
Check with your state government, but to the best of my knowledge, nobody has the right to euthanize your animal unless he shows definite symptoms of rabies, in which unlikely case you may want to humanely euthanize him anyway. :p
 

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Fair enough, but there are also dangerous dogs bylaws which may supercede those posted, which WILL seize and possibly euthanize a dog declared "vicious" - and that definition varies by location, which is more what I was referring to.

There is also a moral/ethical issue - if a person is bitten by an unvaccinated dog, they will have to undergo a series of painful rabies vaccine shots.
 

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FallRiver said:
I think the current rabies control ordinance for the United States is state, not municipal.
No, it is local. Some counties require annual boosters some every three years. Just north of us they require the annual where the remaining three surrounding counties require the every three years.
 

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Yellow Boys Mom said:
FallRiver said:
I think the current rabies control ordinance for the United States is state, not municipal.
No, it is local. Some counties require annual boosters some every three years. Just north of us they require the annual where the remaining three surrounding counties require the every three years.
Right, counties or municipalities generally can "supplement" the state laws.

While biting a human usually means a ten day confinement (followed by mandatory vaccine), a worse scenario in many states is when an animal "reasonably suspected of having rabies" (raccoon, fox, etc...) tangles with a dog determined not to be current on vaccines. At that time it is up to animal control officers to decide whether the dog is a) euthanized or b)quarantined at the owner's expense for SIX months.
 

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everydog said:
Yellow Boys Mom said:
FallRiver said:
I think the current rabies control ordinance for the United States is state, not municipal.
No, it is local. Some counties require annual boosters some every three years. Just north of us they require the annual where the remaining three surrounding counties require the every three years.
Right, counties or municipalities generally can "supplement" the state laws.

While biting a human usually means a ten day confinement (followed by mandatory vaccine), a worse scenario in many states is when an animal "reasonably suspected of having rabies" (raccoon, fox, etc...) tangles with a dog determined not to be current on vaccines. At that time it is up to animal control officers to decide whether the dog is a) euthanized or b)quarantined at the owner's expense for SIX months.
Though I whole heartedly agree with the Rabies Challenge Fund, I am glad I did have my holistic vet give him the rabies. I wish he did not have to have it every three years but we have so many rabied animals around. In the city we have raccoons, skunks, etc and with all the traveling we do, I just personally would rather be in compliance with the law and not worry about what they might try to do to Caleb. Would love it they would allow titers or even every seven years. They're getting so goofy around here about dogs.
 

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First, a disclaimer: I am not saying NEVER VACCINATE YOUR DOG FOR RABIES. I am just trying to stimulate some reasoning behind our decision making and would never try to bully somebody into doing something they are not prepared to do :)

While biting a human usually means a ten day confinement (followed by mandatory vaccine), a worse scenario in many states is when an animal "reasonably suspected of having rabies" (raccoon, fox, etc...) tangles with a dog determined not to be current on vaccines. At that time it is up to animal control officers to decide whether the dog is a) euthanized or b)quarantined at the owner's expense for SIX months.
This is another example of how fear of the unknown and the unlikely is driving our decision making. If your dog were to be bitten by another animal, is the bylaw officer there to witness it? How unlikely is your LABRADOR RETRIEVER to be picked up at large and subsequently labeled a dangerous dog? These risks are very minimal compared to the real and dangerous risks of the rabies vaccine.

I've worked in a few shelters and we have given back some extraordinarily dangerous dogs to owners because their rights are important and because the dog hasn't bitten anyone YET.

Please, everybody make your own decisions, but we KNOW the rabies vaccine is the most dangerous of all. I live in the country and I hike with the dogs for at least an hour a day in some very remote areas and have never seen a rabid animal, much less a rabid dog or cat. I have seen hundreds of vaccine reactions though and these have very real ramifications for our dogs.

Some of us can take advantage of the rabies exemption rule, some may do it only once, or others may choose to not do it at all. If you choose not to vaccinate, there is a small but real risk of your dog being picked up and destroyed for looking like it has rabies. If you choose to vaccinate, you avoid that risk, but you introduce the risk of long term disease or immediate illness, and subsequent loss of quality of life.

I'll use the car analogy again. If you choose to drive a car, you accept deadly risk in the unlikely event of a fatal crash. But most of us accept that risk because driving a car greatly improves our quality of life.

Each of us must make our own decisions. But please, don't base them on fear. Do your research and know the risks and the benefits. And please, give to the Rabies Challenge Fund!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Here, dogs without tags can be destroyed without notice to the owner. They're supposed to quarantine the dog for 10 days, and if the owner isn't found they can be destroyed.

For most people that are responsible owners, they're going to know where their dogs are, so I don't think it's likely at all they'll be destroyed - unless they show signs of rabies and like FallRiver said, you'd want to do that anyways.

If you don't have your dog vaccinated and they bite someone or somehow the authorities find out, you're forced to vaccinate before you can get your dog back.

Like has been mentioned, it's a state issue so you'd have to check your state statutes. On top of that, most states delegate some of their authority to localities and the locality in which you live very well may have promulgated more stringent requirements.
 

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You may find this group helpful http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/TruthAboutVaccines/

Ultimately, I think it comes down to your local laws ... and whether they are enforced. In most cases, because you would be in posession of your dog, they would either require you to vaccinate the dog or keep it under quarantine for a certain ammount of time. Often the quarantine is in your own home. There are places where the laws and the people who enforce them are a little extreme, but in most cases, not having a current rabies tag is not a death sentence for your dog.

Ultimately, you're going to have to check into your local ordinances. If you have a sympathetic vet or some other holistic type pet owners in your area, ask them what they know. For example ... they may know that animal control doesn't really enforce the rabies requirement, or that if you insist, they'll take a titer. They may also know a vet who will write up a rabies exemption certificate for you (the group I mentioned also has contacts for homeophathic vets who will write a medical exemption for you).

It's a tough decision, one I'm going to have to make when Indy is due for his one year booster (now I wish I had never registered him with the city :(). Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Indiana. Chocolata had a mass cell tumor so I might be able to get exemption for that reason. You have to take advantage of whatever opportunity there is ;D Unfortunatelly, she did get shots before I adopted her. At least she will only be 2 in the summer and so she did not get that many. I will look into the local laws and figure it out. We are getting a puppy next year and so all the medical decisions as far as vaccines will be just up to me. I take Choco to a dog beach often and no one has ever checked us and I would be surprised if the local police even knew how current rabbies tag looks.
 

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It's a tough decision, one I'm going to have to make when Indy is due for his one year booster (now I wish I had never registered him with the city ). Good luck!
That is an excellent point we need to be aware of!!! You also need to be careful with your vets as they can generate records of clients' dogs and vaccination history.

I like that I have a kennel license so I am not required to show proof of vaccination for my license because my dogs do not have to be individually licensed. Food for thought if your zoning permits.
 

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Just happened to see this post, and thought I'd tell our recent experience. We kept our 'granddogs' last weekend; they're both seniors (about 11-12 yo). We took them out to the backyard, onleash, to potty. Rufie, a medium size terrier mix, with only 3 legs, deaf, and almost blind (and an adorable sweetie) was with me; I was holding his leash. Our neighbor dog, brittan spaniel, always has been a sweetie...came up, smelled Rufie, and in a flash, attacked him (totally unprovoked). I'm screaming, on the ground holding Rufie, hub grabs Chance (the brittany) trying to pry him off Rufie. When it was all over, hub was bitten on the arm by Chance, the brittany. He was taken to the ER, given a tetanus shot, and a dog bite report had to be filled out. We received a letter from the county health department about the incident, and am assuming the dog owner received one too.

Chance is being quarantined at home for 10 days. We've since learned his history...he's done this before, to another dog, and to a couple of people. Chance will now always be tied when outside, according to his owner. I've loved this dog, but what if he suddenly turned on my Tucker..that's what he did with another dog these people own; can't trust him around my g.kids either.

I don't know how the state laws on this are here (PA), but it seems this was at the local, county level, with the rules and instructions we received coming from our county health department.
 

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Donna, thanks for sharing.
To the best of my knowledge, policy is at state level with counties having the ability to enforce and even modify. I've been bit in two provinces (lucky me), and both dogs were also quarantined for 10 days or so.
FYI, if that happens again either pull them out by their tails or spray them with a hose so nobody gets hurt ;D :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I carry a little citronella spray. There are some interesting dogs in my neighborhood.. I hope that it would work if needed.
 

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I heard that in WY they require ANNUAL rabies and do not accept 3 year shots that neighboring states do. I show up in WY on occaison, and was warned that IF my dog were to cause a problem and bite someone, and if I could not prove rabies vaccination and the annual shot, that they could hold the dog. I am not sure of the details if it's just a quarantine or if they can PTS.

I think that most states have the similar law that if you dog is involved in a biting incident where it bites a person, the dog will be taken by animal control (if reported) and put into quarantine unless proof can be shown that the dog is vaccinated.
 
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