Tuesday, July 2, 2013

PA House Passes Bill which Provides Medical Exemption from Rabies Vaccination

On July 1, 2013, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 155, which amends the Rabies Prevention and Control in Domestic Animals and Wildlife Act.  This bill contains amendments which provide additional definitions, grants enforcement powers and duties to the Department of Agriculture and clarifies when rabies vaccinations are due to be given to domestic animals. 

Most notably, the amendments provide for a veterinary exemption from rabies vaccination, which can be renewed annually.  A licensed veterinarian would be required to certify that an animal has been examined and that it would be medically inadvisable to vaccinate the animal against rabies due to an infirmary, physical condition or current therapy regimen. 

Further, the Senate Bill 155 clarifies when rabies vaccinations are due to be given to cats and dogs.  Currently, the law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated at three months of age.  This left an ambiguity as to whether it was exactly at three months of age, or under four months of age.  The amendments included in SB 155 state that all dogs must be vaccinated against rabies within four weeks after reaching three months of age.

Senate Bill 155 will now return to the Senate for consideration of the House’s changes to SB 155.

For more information, please see the PA General Assembly’s website.

Written By Gaby Gilbeau – Research Assistant

The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center

July 2, 2013

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