Rabies Lawmaking: Not the Scientific Process You Might Envision

Written by Jan on September 11, 2013 – 1:07 pm

California Legislators Wanted to Call Rabies Bill “Cujo’s Law”


AB 272, a very dangerous rabies law, is on California Governor Brown’s desk. Lawmakers were recorded on video saying they wanted to call it Cujo’s Law, ha-ha-ha, after Stephen King’s fictional rabid dog. To people who love our animals, our dogs’ health is no laughing matter.

In Minnesota, some prominent veterinarians had to be prohibited by law to keep them from giving the 3-year rabies vaccine every 2 years without clients’ consent or knowledge: Minnesota Rule 1705.1146. Over-vaccination could greatly increase the chance of vaccine reactions and increase veterinary bills. Kris Christine of The Rabies Challenge Fund reported on Aimee’sLaw.com:

88.8% of veterinarians responding to a rabies survey from the Board of Veterinary Medicine indicated they give a three-year rabies vaccine; yet 53.3% fail to give pet owners a corresponding three-year rabies certificate (36.2% issue a two-year certificate, 17.1% issue “other”). When asked if they inform clients when they put a different expiration date on the rabies certificate than that on the vaccine administered, 40.9% responded that they did not inform the client. A copy of this 12/14/11 report entitled “Rabies Vaccination Survey Report” may be requested from Dr. John King, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine (651) 201-2844 John.King@state.mn.us

There’s more. Veterinarians in some states have lined up to protest bill offering rabies medical exemptions for dogs too ill to safely vaccinate.  In California, dogs were being vaccinated on death’s door until Molly’s Law was enacted in 2013. An early version of the bill required  exempt dogs to be housebound.  They are now allowed out if on leash with an adult thanks to a campaign by the Rabies Challenge Fund and other dog groups.  (Read Does Your State Permit Rabies Vaccination Medical Exemptions? to see if your state allows exemptions. They have been hard won.)

Even in states with exemptions, some veterinarians refuse to apply for them or don’t even know exemptions exist. And some animal control officers often won’t grant them. One person wrote me recently saying she was told by Animal Control that her do,g who was having recurrent seizure,s didn’t fall in the category of “dogs too ill to vaccinate.” The rabies vaccine is known to sometimes cause seizures even in healthy dogs!

The horror stories go on and on.

Laws are too often made by politicians, and sponsored by well-intentioned but misinformed people, with no scientific expertise or by individuals or organizations with a financial or political interest.  Information from real experts in canine immunology and vaccinology, like Drs. W. Jean Dodds and Ronald Schultz, are often ignored. Public health officers represent the public, not animals. They are seldom (if ever?) veterinarians and would even more rarely be experts in vaccination science. In fact, few veterinarians are experts on vaccination and receive little or no continuing education on the subject.

California’s AB 272 is yet another case of non-experts doing something that sounds like a good idea, but is in reality really dangerous. The bill’s author is a politician. The sponsors are MDs.  There is not a veterinarian among them!  (Find details at www.dogs4dogs.com/AB272 or read the quick summary below.)  AB 272  lowers the age to vaccinate puppies against rabies from the current 4 months of age to 3 months.  This will greatly increase the chance of adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine failure.  This dangerous for puppies and people alike!

Help fight this bill. It just takes a minute. ANYONE can protest this law; they are not taking names or addresses. (See contact info below in red.) And tell your dog-loving friends.

Experts and concerned groups in opposition to AB 272 include:

  • The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
  • Dr. W. Jean Dodds, internationally-renowned rabies vaccine expert
  • The Rabies Challenge Fund (a CA Charitable Trust engaged in rabies vaccine research)
  • Numerous veterinarians and pet owners (who wrote letters, emailed or called in opposition)
  • The California Federation of Dog Clubs
  • Concerned Dog Owners of California
  • Many dog breed groups

Why is early vaccination dangerous for puppies and people?  Vaccinating too early can increase the chance that a puppy will suffer an adverse vaccine reaction, potentially increasing veterinary bills or even claiming the life of the puppy after needless suffering. Many vaccine-damaged pets are euthanized or dumped in public shelters.

Public health is also endangered because puppies may not be effectively immunized due to the interference of maternal antibodies to rabies still present in their blood and because of potential interference from other “puppy shots” routinely given at that age. The public will believe the pet has immunity when it doesn’t.

Do you live in a state that vaccinates against rabies at 3 months? Click this link, then change the law. Click here to check your state’s rabies law.

Take a moment to help Californians protest AB 272!
To call, dial 916-445-2841. Press 1 when prompted, then 6. When someone answers, tell them you Oppose AB 272, the rabies vaccination bill. They will listen to your reasons for opposing it, but you don’t have to state anything other than your opposition. Do tell them you think it’s dangerous to the public and puppies alike.

To email, comment on the Governor’s contact page.  http://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php  When emailing, scroll down to select AB 00272 as the subject, click the “Have Comment” button and on the next page, the “Con” button. I voluntarily added my name and address to show I was a constituent. This helps but wasn’t required.

To fax, call (916) 558-3160.

We have only a few days to act. It just takes a minute. Please call or email saying you OPPOSE AB 272, the rabies bill. They won’t ask your name or why you’re opposing the bill. This is urgent and important. Scroll to the bottom for contact information in red. Don’t let politicians decide matters of dog health! Spread the word!

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5 Comments to “Rabies Lawmaking: Not the Scientific Process You Might Envision”

  1. Holly S. Long Says:

    It took me years to restore my Yorkie’s health after being over vaccinated and suffering a terrible vaccine reaction. The injection site swelled to the size of a golf ball and did not go down for 8 months. For days he layed almost dead.He weighed less than 3# at the time. I believe titers should be used and recognized. Everyone needs to get more informed on what a healthy immune system is and how vaccines are not the answer for many people or pets and/or use a minimal guideline for certain vaccinations.

  2. Carolyn M M Says:

    Nothing funny about this issue, despite the snickering.

  3. Jan Says:

    Holly, the Rabies Challenge Fund (.org) is working on getting a USDA approved titer standard. Right now, they just use the human titer standard and don’t allow it legally. I hope you’ll support the work of the Fund.

    Here’s a good article for people who don’t understand about the dangers of vaccines. It helps them decide if a vaccine is needed. People standing up for their pets is how laws are changed.

  4. Nancy Adams Says:

    My 12.5 year old Basset Hound went to the Vet with a UTI on Tuesday. The Vet took blood work to check her Thyroid levels, and to check for anything else. But suggested she was due for her Rabies and other Immunizations.

    I told her I felt she was to old for any more of those shots. But the Vet argued that Rabies is the Law. I again said I preference to
    run under that Radar. She continued, and I gave in.

    My dog Died later that night.

    When I called her the next day she denied that the shot had anything to due with her death. And it must have been somthing else. She then told me her blood work showed elevated liver panel and she needed to go on other Meds for that.

    I then told her my dog was dead, I am sickened by this complete miss by my Vet.

    I lost my precious Haikey over a stupid irresponsible decision to Vacinnate my old sick dog. It’s disgusting!

  5. Jan Says:

    Nancy, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your vet should have known better. It’s not your fault. It’s the vet’s fault. Even the drug maker says to vaccinate healthy dogs only. Many states allow exemptions for dogs with health problems. What state do you live in?

    When you’re up to it, please report your dog’s death to the manufacturer. It’s the only way to gather stats on this dangerous vaccine http://truth4pets.org/reporting-reactions/ You’ll name the drug name, lot # and serial number; get it from your vaccine paperwork. You might also want to file a complaint with your state veterinary board. It probably won’t go anywhere, but it will embarrass your vet and take some of her time. This is the only way to stop this madness.

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