The current law stating a 10-day confinement for animals that have bitten is antiquated. It was written during a time when rabies was prominent (1950's & 60's).
Per the CDC, wild animals accounted for 92% of cases of rabies in 2010. 29 cases of human rabies have been reported in the US since 2001. 8 of these 29 individuals were infected outside the United States (7 abroad and 1 in Puerto Rico). Only 2 human rabies cases that have occurred in the US since 2001 have not been associated with exposure to bats. In a 2003 Virginia case, the virus variant was typed as a raccoon variant, and in a case reported during 2011, the source of the rabies virus was not identified. There have been a total of 15 bat-associated human rabies cases since 2001. In 11 of the 15 (73.3%) cases, there was a report of a bite or direct contact with a bat. Of the 8% of reported cases that were domestic animals, 62% were cats. Most (82.2%) of the 303 rabid cats were reported from states where raccoon rabies was enzootic, with 2 states (PA & NY) accounting for nearly 1/3 of rabid cats reported during 2010. There were only 60 dogs in the entire United States with rabies. 47 of the 60 reports of that were reported, 32 were skunk, 14 were raccoon and 1 was Arctic fox rabies virus variants.
There were absolutely zero cases where a dog had been vaccinated for the rabies virus, but then had the virus. This tells us that the vaccine is, in fact, doing it's job. Therefore the 10-day confinement period is not necessary for any animal that has proven to be vaccinated in accordance with the state law.
In many cases, older dogs, when they are in poor health will bite. They are in pain and are confused. Recently I've spoken with 4 people that have had very similar issues with their older dogs. In 2 of the 4 case, the owners had contacted their vets to do euthanasia for them. They were saying goodbye to their dogs and just slightly shifted their position and their dog bit them. According to state law, these people now have to wait an additional 10 days before they can do what they feel is right by their dog. In 2 other cases, the people were doing something medically to attempt to relieve their dogs' pain when the dog bit. Now that the dog bit, they have to wait 10 days before they can do what they feel is right by their dog.
Police dogs are exempt from this law. The law states, "when a person has been bitten by a police dog that is currently vaccinated against rabies, the police dog may continue to perform its duties for the peace officer or law enforcement agency...". This is discriminatory! If there is an exception for a police dog that is currently vaccinated, there should be an exception for ALL dogs that are currently vaccinated.
We want the state to exempt from the 10-day confinement period dogs that have proven to have their rabies vaccination so that owners (and dogs) don't have to go through a painful waiting period, perhaps putting their dog through more pain and confusion as my Lhasapoo, Chachi, was put through. He bit my husband because he was in pain. He had his rabies vaccination from the time he was 4 months old and it was current. He was never late for a rabies vaccination in his nearly 15 years of life. We decided it was time, but because of the bite, had to make him wait 10 more days. He was very confused and in a lot of pain. It was awful to have to go through this with him and help him as best we could without getting bit again. If he had bit again, the 10-day period would start all over.
This is truly an antiquated law. Please help us change it.