Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 65. Comprehensive Animal Care
7/24/2024

§ 3.2-6521. Rabies inoculation of companion animals; availability of certificate; rabies clinics.

A. The owner or custodian of all dogs and cats four months of age and older shall have such animal currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician who is under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian on the premises unless otherwise provided by regulations. The supervising veterinarian on the premises shall provide the owner or custodian of the dog or the cat with a rabies vaccination certificate or herd rabies vaccination certificate and shall keep a copy in his own files. The owner or custodian of the dog or the cat shall furnish within a reasonable period of time, upon the request of an animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, State Veterinarian's representative, or official of the Department of Health, the certificate of vaccination for such dog or cat. The vaccine used shall be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for use in that species. At the discretion of the local health director, a medical record from a licensed veterinary establishment reflecting a currently vaccinated status may serve as proof of vaccination.

B. All rabies clinics require the approval by the appropriate local health department and governing body. The licensed veterinarian who administers rabies vaccinations at the clinic shall (i) provide the owner or custodian a rabies vaccination certificate for each vaccinated animal and (ii) ensure that a licensed veterinary facility retains a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate. The sponsoring organization of a rabies clinic shall, upon the request of the owner or custodian, an animal control officer, a humane investigator, a law-enforcement officer, a State Veterinarian's representative, a licensed veterinarian, or an official of the Department of Health, provide the name and contact information of the licensed veterinary facility where a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate is retained. However, the county or city shall ensure that a clinic is conducted to serve its jurisdiction at least once every two years.

C. Rabies clinics approved by the appropriate local health department and governing body may offer microchipping and additional animal health vaccines at the discretion of the licensed veterinarian or veterinarians participating in the clinic. Any licensed veterinarian who administers animal health vaccinations at the clinic shall (i) provide the owner or custodian of an animal a vaccination record for each vaccinated animal and (ii) ensure that a licensed veterinary establishment retains a copy of each vaccination record. Licensed veterinary technicians may administer animal health vaccines at a rabies clinic under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian on the premises unless otherwise provided by regulations.

D. Local health departments shall submit a report to the Department of Health no later than December 31 of each year that includes (i) the number and location of rabies clinics approved pursuant to subsections B and C and (ii) the number and type of vaccinations administered, the number of microchips administered, and the number of veterinarians and veterinary technicians in attendance at each clinic to determine the type of service utilized.

E. Vaccination subsequent to a summons to appear before a court for failure to do so shall not operate to relieve such owner from the penalties or court costs provided under § 16.1-69.48:1 or 17.1-275.7.

F. The Board of Health shall, by regulation, provide an exemption to the requirements of subsection A if an animal suffers from an underlying medical condition that is likely to result in a life-threatening condition in response to vaccination and such exemption would not risk public health and safety. For the purposes of § 3.2-6522, such exemption shall mean that the animal is considered not currently vaccinated for rabies. For the purposes of §§ 3.2-5902, 3.2-6526, and 3.2-6527, such exemption shall be considered in place of a current certificate of vaccination.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.67; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.97; 1988, c. 538, § 3.1-796.97:1; 1992, c. 294; 1993, c. 817; 1994, c. 636; 1996, c. 351; 1998, c. 817; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860; 2009, c. 756; 2010, cc. 182, 834; 2013, c. 286; 2024, c. 241.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.