Pets could be exempt from rabies shots under Ga. proposal

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 8:32 AM EST
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ATLANTA (CBS46) — A new Georgia house bill proposed would help provide rabies vaccine exemptions for dogs and cats in Georgia. Five state representatives signed onto the proposal, and it’s been discussed in committee this week.

House Bill 1000 would provide an exemption for canines and felines to be vaccinated against rabies if a vet deems the vaccine to compromise the animal’s health or is “medically unnecessary.”

Republican State Representative Stan Gunter, who authored the bill, said it’s all about giving power back to vets and dog-owners.

“There should be some exceptions or leniency for vets to make a decision based on their own experience and knowledge,” said Gunter.

CBS 46 asked if some people being against the COVID-19 vaccine had anything to do with the new bill for animals. Gunter said it didn’t, and that it was based off a conversation with a constituent who didn’t want her dog with cancer to get vaccinated.

Rabies experts warn dog-owners to not let their dogs socialize if unvaccinated.

“Let’s be clear that rabies is a very serious disease. In fact, it has the highest case fatality of any infectious disease. What that means is, when we speak about a case about rabies, we’re talking about a death. We’re not talking about something curable or treatable, but it is preventable,” said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, who was previously at the CDC and is currently the World Health Organization’s expert advisor 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 her first time being out here. And I finally feel safe bringing her out in public spaces because she’s had all of her vaccines,” said Jordan. “It’s scary, anything that they could possibly contract, that’s your baby basically.”

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