Veterinarians have been urged to deny rabies vaccinations for dogs whose owners object to sending proof of the shot to local tax collectors. The advice doesn't sit well for all.
A law that went into effect July 1 requires veterinarians to send a copy of each new rabies vaccination certificate to the local treasurer's office, which can then bill the dog owner for a license.
The Virginia Veterinary Medical Association has suggested that its members refuse to vaccinate dogs whose owners insist that they do not send in the paperwork.
Bob Kane, president of the Virginia Hunting Dog Owners, says veterinarians are being asked to violate the privacy of dog owners and ignore common sense. He also claims the information could be used to force dog owners to have their pets sterilized.
Doctor Lauren Keating, president of the VVMA, says the new statute is a compliance mechanism and does not raise privacy issues.
The Virginia Department of Health says the state has had 377 confirmed cases of rabies this year, up from 325 cases at this time a year ago. Rabies is a potentially lethal disease that attacks the nervous system.