BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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          Date of Hearing:   April 22, 2013

                             ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON RULES
                                Nancy Skinner, Chair
                     AB 272 (Gomez) - As Amended:  April 19, 2013
          SUBJECT  :   Rabies: vaccinations

           SUMMARY  :   This bill changes, from four months to three months,  
          the age at which a dog is required to be vaccinated against  
          rabies.  This bill also makes technical changes. 

           EXISTING LAW  requires every dog owner to, once the dog is older  
          than four months, obtain a dog license from the responsible  
          local government at least every two years, and obtain a rabies  
          vaccination every year.  Allows fines up to $1,000 for violating  
          various requirements related to rabies, including not  
          vaccinating a dog against rabies.

           FISCAL EFFECT  : According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, there are no significant costs associated with this  
           COMMENTS  :   Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central  
          nervous system and causes acute inflammation of the brain.   
          Rabies is almost always fatal if treatment is not administered  
          prior to the onset of severe symptoms.  In California, most  
          cases of rabies occur in skunks and bats; however, any mammal,  
          including human, can contract rabies.  Domestic animals account  
          for three percent of animal rabies, and the rest occurs in a  
          variety of wild animals.  Rabies can be prevented by  
          vaccination.  Rabies prevention programs, including  
          vaccinations, in the United States have reduced  
          laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in dogs from 6,949 in 1947  
          to 93 in 2009.

          According to the author, the four month age for vaccination is  
          out of step with current federal rules, other states and  
          existing vaccine labels.  The Center for Disease Control and  
          Prevention's 2011 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and  
          Control (Compendium) lists 14 rabies vaccinations for dogs  
          licensed by the federal government.  The minimum age for all  
          rabies vaccination for dogs is three months.  California is the  
          only state that sets a minimum age of four months for dog rabies  
          vaccination. Other states use the Compendium guidelines, the  


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          United Stated Department of Agricultural rules or vaccination  
          label requirements to determine the minimum age.

          By allowing California veterinarians to vaccinate at three  
          months, supporters state that this will lessen the chance of  
          over-vaccination of young dogs coming into California.   
          Furthermore, supporters feel that, along with aligning  
          California rabies law with the rest of the nation, this bill  
          will offer protection against rabies to more dogs.

          Opponents state that this bill is unneeded as California has a  
          low rate of rabies in domestic animals, with three cases of  
          rabies in dogs reported since 2007.  Opponents feel that  
          lowering the age of vaccination can be counterproductive, as  
          puppies have sufficient maternal antibodies (MAB) to protect  
          against rabies.  The 2011 American Animal Hospital Association  
          Canine Vaccination Guidelines list puppy's MAB as one of the  
          three main reasons for vaccine failure. Furthermore, opponents  
          worry that adding another vaccination into the three  
          vaccinations already required at three months (distemper,  
          hepatitis, parvo) will increase the chance of adverse side  
          effects from the vaccinations. 


          Health Officers Association of California (sponsor)
          American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
          California Animal Control Directors Association
          County of Los Angeles
          Santa Cruz SPCA
          State Humane Association of California

          California Miniature Schnauzer Rescue
          The Rabies Challenge Fund

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Victor Francovich / AGRI. / (916)  
          319-2084 /Nicole Willis / RLS. / (916) 319-2800 


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