Ohio is considering a bill that would mandate rabies vaccinations for all pet cats. Under House Bill 446, cat owners, keepers or harborers must make sure their pet is properly vaccinated at all times or face a penalty of $50.
Exemptions from vaccination requirements include instances in which a cat’s well-being would be endangered by a vaccination against rabies as determined by a veterinarian; a cat that is confined to the premises of an organization or a nonprofit corporation that is devoted to the care of, or providing hospital treatment for lost or homeless animals; a cat that is confined for research purposes at a facility registered under the U.S. Animal Welfare Act; a cat that is confined to an animal shelter; and feral cats.
Owners, keepers or harborers of a cat that is vaccinated against rabies in another state and later moves to Ohio must provide proof of vaccination for the animal to the board of health of the health district in which they reside.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, an industry trade group representing retailers, companion animal suppliers and hobbyist groups, among others, states that this type of legislation is not uncommon as most states require cats to have a rabies vaccination and require owners to provide proof of the vaccination upon demand.
PIJAC urges cat owners to consult with their veterinarian to make sure their pets do not fall within a vaccination exemption.
The legislation sits in the Senate Committee on State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs where it waits for a committee hearing. For more details, click here.