ATLANTA (CBS46) – A new Georgia house law that is being proposed would help provide rabies vaccine exemptions for dogs and cats in Georgia. Five state officials signed the proposal and it was discussed in committee this week.
House Bill 1000 provides an exception for dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies if a veterinarian believes the vaccine endangers the animal’s health or is “medically unnecessary”.
Republican state Representative Stan Gunter, who authored the bill, said it was about giving power back to vets and dog owners.
“There should be some exceptions or leniency for veterinarians to make a decision based on their own experience and knowledge,” Gunter said.
CBS 46 asked if some people opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine had anything to do with the new animal bill. Gunter said that was not the case and that it was based on a conversation with a constituent who did not want her dog with cancer to be vaccinated.
Rabies experts warn dog owners against socializing their dogs without vaccination.
“Let us be clear that rabies is a very serious disease. In fact, it has the highest fatality rate of any infectious disease. This means when we are talking about a case of rabies, we are talking about a death. We’re not talking about anything curable or treatable, but it’s preventable,” said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, who was previously with the CDC and is currently the World Health Organization’s expert adviser on rabies.
For dog owners at Piedmont Park, the bill is a reminder to be careful.
Natalie Jordan was out with her 4 month old dog.
“This is the first time she’s been out here. And I finally feel safe bringing her out into the open because she’s had all of her vaccines,” Jordan said. “It’s scary, all they could possibly contract, that’s basically your baby.”