Rabies Law and Legal Definition

Rabies, or hydrophobia , acute viral infection of the central nervous system in dogs, foxes, raccoons, skunks, bats, and other animals, and in humans. The virus is transmitted from an animal to a person, or from one animal to another, via infected saliva, most often by biting but also by the contact of torn skin with infected saliva. Once rabies develops, it is almost always fatal. Most states have laws requiring dogs and cats to be immunized against rabies on a periodic basis. Such laws often make provisions that, if requested, the vaccination certificate or tag must be presented to enforcement officers, state licensed kennel owners may administer rabies vaccinations to animals they own after being certified to do so, and failure to have your animals vaccinated or failure to produce proof of vaccination may result in fines.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with rabies:

" Every owner of a dog or cat required to be immunized for rabies as defined in this chapter, shall cause said dog or cat to be immunized by the rabies officer, his authorized representative, or any duly licensed veterinarian, when said animal reaches three months of age and annually thereafter. Evidence of such immunization shall consist of a printed certificate furnished in triplicate by the Alabama Department of Public Health, upon which shall be legibly inscribed: a description of the dog or cat; its age, color, sex, breed, and tattoo identification, if any; the name and address of the owner; the lot number and type of vaccine used (modified live virus, inactivated virus); the name of the manufacturer and amount of vaccine injected; and a serially numbered tag bearing the same number and year as that of the certificate. The certificate shall be dated and signed by the person authorized to administer the vaccine. Certificates not in keeping with the provisions of this section, or certificates issued by those persons unauthorized to administer rabies vaccine, shall not be valid. The original copy of the certificate prescribed herein shall be delivered to the owner of the dog or cat immunized, one copy to the local health department, and one copy to be retained by the rabies officer. The certificate of immunization shall be valid for a period of one year for all dogs and cats required to be immunized under this chapter. Immunization certificates may be destroyed three years after date of issuance.

It shall be unlawful and in violation of the provisions of this chapter for any person to import, receive, sell, offer for sale, barter, or exchange animal anti rabies vaccine, other than anti rabies vaccine intended for human use, to anyone except a duly licensed veterinarian."