Monday, April 1, 2013

AB 272 - rabies vaccination at age three months

California State Assembly
Committee on Appropriations
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, CA 95814
March 18, 2013

Re: CA AB 272: Rabies: vaccinations (Gomez) : OPPOSE

Dear Chairman Gatto and committee members,

The California Federation of Dog Clubs, founded in 1990, represents thousands of dog owners across our state. We are advocates for animal welfare and for protecting the rights of responsible dog owners. The CFoDC conducts breed identification workshops for shelter workers, distributes a dog care and training brochure for new owners who adopt from shelters, and provides a toll-free help line for pet owners who are struggling with behavior or training problems. We also maintain and administer a relief fund for animals affected by disasters such as earthquakes or fires. CFoDC supports animal legislation that is beneficial to society and to animal welfare. AB 272, however, would be detrimental to health and welfare.

The CFoDC is OPPOSED to CA AB 272. This bill would lower the age for puppies to receive their required rabies vaccination to three months old. Vaccination of puppies at an early age flies in the face of science and is counter to the advice of the medical community. Early-age vaccination is often ineffective due to the interference of maternal antibodies. This would mean that a large percentage of young dogs in the community would be presumed immune to rabies after an ineffective early-age vaccination, when in fact they are not immune and could acquire and transfer rabies to humans. Owners with a false sense of security may fail to become concerned if their presumed-immune yet actually NOT immune dog has contact with a rabid animal and might fail to report the incident. This policy could result in an increased risk of potential rabies exposure cases. Each case of possible human rabies exposure costs our state thousands of dollars in investigation, tracking and treatment costs.

It is false to claim that California is the only state setting the age of four months for dog rabies vaccination. Several states have set that age as high as SIX months. California has only seen three (3) cases of rabies in dogs in the past six years despite 1128 confirmed cases of rabies in bats and skunks in that same time period. One of those cases was a dog who was recently imported into Los Angeles from Mexico. The current law requiring canine rabies vaccination at four months of age is perfectly effective. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Please reject AB 272.

Sincerely yours,
Geneva Coats, R.N.
Secretary, California Federation of Dog Clubs
cc: Mike Gatto, Diane Harkey, Franklin Bigelow, Raul Bocanegra, Steven Bradford, Ian Calderon, Nora Campos, Tim Donnelly, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Jimmy Gomez, Isadore Hall III, Chris Holden, Eric Linder, Richard Pan, Bill Quirk, Donald Wagner, Shirley Weber, Geoff Long, Lisa Murawski, Julie Salley-Gray

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