Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 411

Public Act No. 06-105

AN ACT CONCERNING EXEMPTION FROM RABIES VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 22-338 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) Each owner or keeper of a dog of the age of six months or older, except dogs kept under a kennel license as provided in section 22-342, shall cause such dog to be licensed in the town clerk's office in the town where such dog is kept, on or before June thirtieth, annually, or at such time as such dog becomes six months old, and annually thereafter, on or before June thirtieth. The owner or keeper shall pay to such town clerk for such license the sum of seven dollars for each neutered male or spayed female dog and the sum of twelve dollars for each unneutered male dog and each unspayed female dog, and one additional dollar in each case as the town clerk's fee for issuing a tag and license as provided in section 22-340. Two dollars from each license fee collected for a neutered or spayed dog shall be deposited into the Animal Population Control Fund. If an owner or keeper of a dog fails to procure a license as required by this section, such owner or keeper shall pay the appropriate license fee specified in this section, the town clerk's fee and a penalty of one dollar for each month or fraction thereof the dog remains unlicensed.

(b) Any owner or keeper applying for a license for a dog under subsection (a) of this section, except for those owners or keepers possessing a rabies vaccination exemption certificate, or a copy thereof, issued pursuant to section 22-339b, as amended by this act, shall submit to the town clerk a rabies certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian, or a copy thereof, stating that such dog has been vaccinated against rabies, the date of the vaccination and the duration of the immunity provided by the vaccine. No license shall be issued unless the certificate indicates that the immunity provided by the vaccine is effective at the time of licensing.

(c) Any owner or keeper applying for a license for a dog pursuant to subsection (a) of this section that has been exempted from vaccination against rabies pursuant to section 22-339b, as amended by this act, shall submit to the town clerk a rabies vaccination exemption certificate issued by the department, or a copy thereof, in lieu of a rabies certificate.

[(c)] (d) This section shall not apply to any dog which is imported into this state for exhibition purposes and which does not remain in this state for more than thirty days. Any person may import, from another state, any licensed dog with collar, tag and rabies vaccination certificate, and keep the same in this state for not more than thirty days, without complying with the provisions of this section.

Sec. 2. Section 22-339b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) Any owner or keeper of a dog or cat of the age of three months or older shall have such dog or cat vaccinated against rabies. Any animal vaccinated prior to one year of age or receiving a primary rabies vaccine at any age shall be considered protected for only one year and shall be given a booster vaccination one year after the initial vaccination and shall be vaccinated at least every three years thereafter. Those animals revaccinated after one year of age shall be given booster vaccinations at least every three years thereafter. Proof of vaccination shall be a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in accordance with subsection (a) of section 22-339c, as amended by this act. [Any violation of this section shall be an infraction. ]

(b) The State Veterinarian or the Commissioner of Agriculture, or the commissioner's designee, may grant an exemption from vaccination against rabies for a dog or cat if a licensed veterinarian has examined such animal and determined that a rabies vaccination would endanger the animal's life due to disease or other medical considerations. Such exemption may be granted for an individual animal only after the veterinarian has consulted with the State Veterinarian, the Commissioner of Agriculture, or the commissioner's designee, and completed and submitted to the department an application for exemption from rabies vaccination on a form approved by the Department of Agriculture. After approval of such exemption, the department shall issue a rabies vaccination exemption certificate, copies of which shall be provided to the veterinarian, the owner of the dog or cat exempted from rabies vaccination and the animal control officer of the municipality in which the owner of the dog or cat resides. Certification that a dog or cat is exempt from rabies vaccination shall be valid for one year, after which time the animal shall be vaccinated against rabies or the application for exemption shall be renewed.

(c) Any veterinarian aggrieved by a denial of a request for an exemption from rabies vaccination by the State Veterinarian, the Commissioner of Agriculture or the commissioner's designee may appeal such denial as provided in the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, sections 4-166 to 4-189, inclusive.

(d) Any violation of this section shall be an infraction.

Sec. 3. Section 22-339c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) A certificate of rabies vaccination shall be (1) a [Form 50] form approved by the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians, (2) any form approved by the State Veterinarian, or (3) any form that has the following information regarding the vaccinated animal: (A) The name and address of its owner; (B) a description of the animal which specifies its species, breed, age, color or markings and sex; (C) the date of the vaccination, the duration of the immunity provided by the vaccination, the producer of the vaccine and the vaccine serial number; (D) the rabies tag number; and (E) the signature and license number of the veterinarian administering the vaccination. Such certificate shall be the official proof of rabies vaccination submitted to a town clerk in accordance with the provisions of section 22-338 or 22-339a, as amended by this act.

(b) The owner or keeper of a dog or cat shall keep a certificate, or copy thereof, stating that such dog or cat has been vaccinated against rabies and shall make such certificate or copy available to any animal control officer, regional animal control officer or municipal animal control officer of any municipality for inspection.

(c) An antirabies clinic, upon request of any municipal animal control officer or animal control officer, shall submit to such officer a copy of any such certificate issued. Such copy shall be used by the officer to search for unlicensed dogs in accordance with the provisions of section 22-349.

Sec. 4. Section 22-359 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) The commissioner may make such orders for the adequate confinement, control or destruction of any dog, cat or other animal as he deems necessary to prevent the spread of rabies and to protect the public therefrom provided, notwithstanding the provisions of section 22-358, as amended, a local director of health may order the destruction of any unowned animal which is not currently vaccinated for rabies for the purpose of rabies testing if the director finds that the animal has bitten a person and the health or life of such person may be threatened. Any person who fails to comply with any order made under the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars. The commissioner, the Chief Animal Control Officer, any animal control officer or any municipal animal control officer may quarantine any animal in a public pound, veterinary hospital, kennel or other building or enclosure approved by the commissioner for such purpose, if in the determination of the commissioner or such officer, such animal is rabid or is suspected of being rabid, or has been bitten by, or may have been bitten by, or has been in contact with or exposed to, a rabid animal or an animal suspected of carrying rabies or any wild animal as defined in subsection (d) of this section. The length of such quarantine period shall be determined by the commissioner or the State Veterinarian who shall take into account the age, general health and vaccination history of the animal as well as current accepted veterinary practices. Any suspected or confirmed case of rabies shall be reported to the commissioner by a local director of health or board of health or any veterinarian within twenty-four hours of receipt of such information.

(b) Any dog, cat or other animal held in quarantine which is clinically diagnosed as rabid by two licensed veterinarians, at least one of whom shall be engaged in private practice, shall be humanely euthanized immediately without prior notice to the owner or keeper of same. No person who kills any animal in accordance with this subsection shall be held criminally or civilly liable therefor.

(c) Any animal, other than a dog, which is quarantined pursuant to this section which is not claimed by its owner or keeper within the period of such quarantine may be sold by the municipal animal control officer, if he finds that the animal is in good health. The animal may only be sold as a pet to a person who satisfies the officer that the animal will be given a good home and proper care. The municipal animal control officer may retain possession of such animal for such additional period of time as he may deem advisable in order to place such animal. Any animal, other than a dog, which is quarantined pursuant to this section which is not claimed by its owner or keeper within the period of such quarantine and which is not sold by the municipal animal control officer within five days of the expiration of such quarantine, may be disposed of at the direction of the State Veterinarian. No person who disposes of any animal in accordance with this subsection shall be held criminally or civilly liable therefor.

(d) The commissioner, any animal control officer or any state or municipal police officer may immediately kill any wild animal which is displaying behavior which causes the commissioner or such officer to reasonably conclude that such animal is rabid. For purposes of this subsection, "wild animal" means any mammal which is ferae naturae or wild by nature.

(e) The commissioner shall institute such measures as the commissioner deems necessary to prevent the transmission of rabies associated with animals in public settings, including, but not limited to, fairs, shows, exhibitions, petting zoos, riding stables, farm tours, pet shops and educational exhibits.

(f) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of subsection (e) of this section. Such regulations may include requirements for the vaccination of animals against rabies, identification of animals, identification of owners or keepers of such animals, animal enclosures, posting of public advisories, reporting of rabies exposure incidents, records deemed necessary and proper relating to the vaccination of animals against rabies, and any other methods determined by the commissioner to prevent the transmission of rabies. Such regulations may consider the species of animal, the characteristics of the public settings and the nature and type of contact the public may have with animals.