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Ordinance would require rabies shots, reporting

Large number of dogs may not be vaccinated, equation states
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn veterinarians may have to report dog rabies vaccinations in the future. Police Chief Valerie Harris gave the first reading at Monday night’s City Council meeting of a potential new ordinance that would comply with the State of California’s Health and Safety Code and the city of Auburn’s dog licensing ordinance. The current code and ordinance state that dogs over six months old have to have rabies shots and proof of the shots must be provided to the city before dogs can be licensed. According to Harris, Placer County has requested that all the law enforcement agencies in the county enact ordinances that require veterinarians and vaccination clinics to report rabies shots to the county. The county would then pass the information on to the city. Veterinarians would need to verify that all their canine patients were vaccinated for rabies in the process, Harris said. Harris said she spoke to one Auburn veterinarian who said he is already reporting the information and one veterinarian who said she is not. The veterinarians she spoke to said they would be happy to report if the ordinance were passed. Harris said there is a definite need in the city for the ordinance, because it would help encourage vaccinations and help keep updated records. According to city documents, the American Veterinarian Medical Association has an equation to determine the number of dogs living in an area. The equation states the city’s approximate human population of 13,500 multiplied by 37 percent equals about 4,995 dogs. However, city documents state only 479 dogs are registered as vaccinated for rabies and licensed within the city. “We have a number far short of that (4,995),” Harris said Monday night. “What that tells us is if this great number of dogs is not licensed, there might be a correlation as well that they are not vaccinated. What we are looking for here in compliance of what Placer County is asking is that all veterinarians operate by the same reporting mandating.” Harris said one veterinarian she spoke to said his office doesn’t treat dogs who aren’t vaccinated for rabies, and she hopes if veterinarians have to report rabies vaccinations, the city will then be able to make sure those dogs are all properly licensed. Councilman Keith Nesbitt asked if the bigger point was licensing or rabies vaccinations, and Harris said the current focus was on making sure the vaccinations were getting done. Harris said those trying to avoid getting their dogs vaccinated would be forced to go to a clinic requiring the shots if the ordinance were passed. “If all of (the veterinarians) comply, then if an individual wants care for their animal, they would have to get them vaccinated,” Harris said. Councilman Mike Holmes said he agreed with the potential ordinance. “I see a lot of dogs in Auburn who have no evidence of a license on a collar or anything,” Holmes said. “This may move us closer to getting better compliance.” Harris said of the entire county, only Roseville and Auburn have not enacted ordinances to require the reporting. Councilman Kevin Hanley said this made him feel better about a potential requirement in Auburn clinics. “If it’s operating well in other jurisdictions then I have more confidence this will work out,” Hanley said. The council members voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the ordinance. Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby was absent. The ordinance is expected to go before the City Council for a second reading at a future meeting. Those wishing to comment on the potential ordinance can contact Harris at (530) 823-4211, ext. 201 or Associate Planner Lance Lowe at (530) 823-4211, ext. 103. In other business City Council: · Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office establishing guidelines for use of the Auburn Police Mobile Command Vehicle during critical incidents. · Acting as the Auburn Urban Development Authority, approved the final draft of the endurance capital interpretive sign to be placed on the podium on the Central Square side of Wells Fargo Bank on Lincoln Way. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com