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Columbus, Ohio —
Rabies vaccinations soon will be mandatory in Ohio, if the state's veterinary leaders have their way.
House Bill 446
, sponsored by veterinarian Rep. Shawn Webster, moved to the Senate after passing by a 74-22 vote in the House. The measure orders rabies vaccinations for cats, dogs and ferrets and stipulates that the inoculations must be performed by a veterinarian or someone supervised by a DVM. Exemptions exist for pets with certain health conditions and research animals as well as shelter animals and feral cats. Owners of unvaccinated animals face will face civil fines and in some cases, misdemeanor charges, the bill states.
Roughly 40 other state already impose such regulations. While the bill encounters criticism from breeders who want to continue administering rabies vaccines to their animals, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association officials consider that a risk to public safety.
"This is a public health issue. There's no margin for error," OVMA Executive Director Jack Advent says.