Saving Molly… and Other Animals From Similar Laws
This story was updated today on CBS-2 News. This couple is still fighting this nightmare of paperwork and conflicting laws between the city and state. Legislation will finally be introduced in January to hopefully stop the insanity…
CHINO–Under state law, dog-owning residents are required to get their dogs vaccinated for rabies in order to prevent the spread of the disease, but one Chino Hills couple is refusing to do so for fear it might cost their dog’s life.
“I’m not a person trying to buck the system,” said Sam Gadd. “I’m just trying to save my dog. This is a legitimate fight and it has become a passion of mine.”
Sam and his wife Cecilia are the proud owners of five-year-old Molly, a brown English Springer Spaniel, who suffers from auto-immune disease, which enables her immune system to kill her red blood cells. The Gadd’s say they believe Molly received auto-immune disease after receiving her first rabies shot about three years ago. They say another shot may kill her.
“It is my medical opinion that any vaccination of Molly could potentially be detrimental to her health, and may incite another recurrence of her Immune-mediated disease,” wrote the Gadd’s veterinarian, Heather Mineo.
The Gadd’s have received a citation from the Inland Valley Humane Society, which contracts with Chino Hills for animal control services. Gadd says he won’t get the shot and will do whatever it takes to save his dog, even if it means putting Molly into hiding.
“The shot is lethal to my dog,” he said.
Gadd said he would have liked the city to approve a contract amendment or an ordinance that would allow an exemption, but city officials say their legal counsel has advised them to comply with state law.
“Really our legal staff says no they say state law prohibits any type of exemption,” said Councilman Ed Graham. “The county has said that Chino Hills would provide an exemption (for sick dogs) because they allow it in the county, however the humane society and our legal council says that that is incorrect. Our people and the Inland Valley Humane Society has said this correction would have to be done by state law.”
Although it does not offer lifetime exemptions, the Inland Valley Humane Society offers 30 to 90 days extensions to owner’s who are told to fulfill a rabies shot requirement, and those are based on medical review by the humane society’s staff. Bill Harford, executive director of the Inland Valley Humane Society, said his staff has reviewed Molly’s case and he did not agree that Molly would die if she were to be given a rabies shot.
Harford said allowing an exemption would open up his agency and the city to litigation.
“What if that one dog that lives in Chino Hills came in contact with a rabid bat or a rabid skunk and contracted rabies and then bit a baby at a local playground,” Harford said. “Who is liable? The rabies shot is a buffer between the wild community and the human community. We’re safeguarding our responsibility to safeguard the public to make sure we fulfill the local rules and regulations pertaining to rabies control.”
The Gadds say they will do all they can to lobby state lawmakers to change the law. The Gadd’s are encouraging residents statewide to write their legislators to allow an exemption on rabies shots for special cases involving rabies vaccinations that may prove lethal to a dog.
“This is not our fight anymore,” Gadd said.
By Neil Nisperos – Staff Writer
Councilman Graham received incorrect information from his legal staff because state law DOES include an exemption. This is to be found in the “Compendium of Rabies Control and Prevention, 2004″ (available on the California Department of Public Health’s rabies page, click on CA Rabies Compendium, 2004 to download the document):
From Part I on page 6 of the Compendium is to be found this language:
“6. Rabies Immunization Exemptions:
A rabies immunization exemption may be issued by the local health officer upon the written recommendation of a California-licensed veterinarian where illness or a veterinary medical condition in a dog warrants. The exempted animal shall be maintained in strict rabies isolation, under conditions that are at the discretion of the local health officer, until such time as the medical condition has resolved, and the animal can be rabies immunized.”
Also someone might want to check into the Rabies Challenge Fund for additional information: http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/
Posted: Just One More Pet
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