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Rabies Law

Sec. 5-6. Vaccination against rabies for dogs, cats, and ferrets.

  • All dogs, cats, and ferrets that are four (4) months of age or older shall be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian against rabies with a vaccine that is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture for use in that species. Every owner of a dog, cat, or ferret shall have the animal revaccinated 12 months after the initial vaccination. Thereafter, the interval between vaccinations shall conform to the vaccine manufacturer's directions. The cost of vaccination shall be borne by the animal’s owner.
  • Evidence of vaccination shall consist of an official certificate prescribed for that purpose by the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and signed by the licensed veterinarian administering the vaccine. The certificate in triplicate shall show: (1) the date and type of vaccination; (2) the name and address of the owner; (3) for dogs and cats, the breed, age, color, and sex, and the year and serial number of the registration tag, if applicable; and (4) the microchip number, if applicable, and other pertinent data for proper identification of the dog, cat, or ferret. The original certificate shall be given to the owner, one (1) copy shall be filed by the veterinarian with the Animal Services Department, and one (1) copy shall be retained by the veterinarian.  Evidence of circulating rabies-virus-neutralizing antibodies shall not be used as a substitute for current vaccination in managing rabies exposure or determining the need for booster vaccinations.
  • A dog, cat, or ferret shall be exempt from vaccination against rabies where a licensed veterinarian has examined the animal and signed a written certificate stating that at such time vaccination would endanger the animal's health because of its age, infirmity, debility, or other medical consideration. The certificate shall state the period of exemption from the vaccination requirement and shall not be valid for more than twelve (12) months from date of issuance. Postmarked no later than the tenth day of each month, all veterinarians providing such certificates shall, as to each dog certified, deliver to the Department one (1) copy of the certificate prepared the previous month. An exempt animal shall be vaccinated against rabies as soon as its health permits. 
  • It shall be a violation of this section to fail to timely vaccinate or revaccinate an animal.

The Department may issue a courtesy notice before the animal is due for vaccination or revaccination.  It is provided, however, that issuance of a courtesy notice shall not be deemed to be a prerequisite to enforcement of the provisions of this section.

If an animal has been untimely revaccinated, the due date of the next rabies revaccination shall be based on the date of the untimely revaccination.

  • Exemptions. This section shall not apply to greyhounds kept, maintained, or brought into the County for the purpose of racing at licensed greyhound tracks, or to animals used as part of entertainment acts when properly controlled, or to animals that remain in the County for a period of less than thirty (30) days.
Back to Top Page Last Edited: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:16:43 AM

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