PENNSYLVANIA: Rabies Medical Exemption Action Alert

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we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Thu Jul 1, '10 5:57pm PST 
PENNSYLVANIA: Rabies Medical Exemption Action Alert -- Pennsylvania pet owners have initiated an effort to get a rabies medical exemption clause inserted into the Pennsylvania Rabies Code. Below is a copy of the letter I have faxed to the Pennsylvania State Veterinarian and below that is a copy of Pennsylvania resident Jennifer Shipley's letter.

What You Can Do to Help

Contact your legislator and ask them to file a rabies medical exemption bill on your behalf. You can find your legislators' contact information at this link http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ , and please ask everyone you know who may concerned about this issue to do the same. E-mails for the entire Pennsylvania Assembly are listed at the bottom of this message.


June 29, 2010

Dr. Craig E. Shultz

State Veterinarian

Department of Agriculture

2301 N. Cameron Street, Room 410

Harrisburg, PA 17110

RE: Medical Exemption Clause for Pennsylvania’s Rabies Prevention and Control Code

Greetings Dr. Shultz:

On behalf of The Rabies Challenge Fund and the Pennsylvania pet owners who have contacted us requesting assistance, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity as State Veterinarian, initiate medical exemption legislation waiving the rabies immunization requirement in Chapter 16, Subchapter C., §16.43 of the Pennsylvania Code for the small number of animals whose veterinarians have determined their medical conditions preclude vaccination.

The states of Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin all have medical exemption clauses for sick animals in their rabies immunization laws, and a bill is currently pending in the California legislature to include a waiver in their statutes.

The labels on rabies vaccines state that they are for “the vaccination of healthy cats, dogs…,” and there are medical conditions for which vaccination can jeopardize the life or well-being of an animal. A medical exemption clause would allow Pennsylvania veterinarians to write waivers for animals whose medical conditions (such as those with cancer, kidney/liver failure, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, grand mal seizures, and chronic autoimmune disorders) would be exacerbated by rabies vaccination. The State of Maine inserted such an exemption into their 3 year rabies protocol, 7 M.R.S.A., Sec. 3922(3), which became effective in April 2005 -- not one rabid dog has been reported in the more than 5 years since that date. Colorado’s data reflect the same -- there have been no rabid dogs reported in the state since passage of their medical exemption clause in July 2008.

Maine’s exemption language is as follows:

A. A letter of exemption from vaccination may be submitted for licensure, if a medical reason exists that precludes the vaccination of the dog. Qualifying letters must be in the form of a written statement, signed by a licensed veterinarian, that includes a description of the dog, and the medical reason that precludes vaccination. If the medical reason is temporary, the letter shall indicate a time of expiration of the exemption.

B. A dog exempted under the provisions of paragraph 5 A, above, shall be considered unvaccinated, for the purposes of 10-144 C.M.R. Ch.251, Section 7(B)(1), (Rules Governing Rabies Management) in the case of said dog’s exposure to a confirmed or suspect rabid animal.

The Rabies Challenge Fund strongly urges you to request legislation be submitted on behalf of the Department of Agriculture amending Chapter 16, Subchapter C., §16.43 of the Pennsylvania Code to include medical exemption language for unhealthy animals for which rabies vaccination would compromise their well-being.


Kris L. Christine

Founder, Co-Trustee




cc: Dr. W. Jean Dodds

Dr. Ronald Schultz

Pennsylvania General Assembly

LETTER from Pennsylvania resident, Jennifer Shipley:

June 28, 2010

Stewart J. Greenleaf

Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012

Dear Senator Greenleaf:

Legislation is needed to provide an exemption from rabies vaccination for pets with existing medical conditions.

My Border Collie, Fever, has idiopathic epilepsy along with other chronic, serious and immune related health conditions. Her veterinarian, Dr. Barrie Barr, DVM of Harmony Animal Health Care Clinic, feels strongly that further rabies vaccinations would potentially pose serious risk to her health. I have a letter written by Dr. Barr to that effect.

In conversation with a friend who lives in New Jersey who owns a dog related to my own with the same medical condition, I learned that her dog’s veterinarian fills out an exemption form annually. The form protects her dog’s life by legally exempting him from rabies vaccination upon examination of a veterinarian who has determined that it would be “medically contraindicated to vaccinate this animal due to an infirmity, other physical condition, or regimen of therapy.” [Attachment “B”]

The manufacturers as well as the USDA state the vaccines should be given to healthy cats and dogs.

My dogs are a cherished and extremely valuable part of my life. Those of us in Pennsylvania who own dogs consider them important member of our families. No dog owner in PA should be forced by our state to risk their dog’s life if a veterinarian has determined that a vaccination would jeopardize their health. Thirteen other states have medical exemption clauses in their rabies laws, would you please introduce legislation on my behalf that would put a medical exemption clause into our state law?

For more detailed information regarding this issue, please see the following additional exhibits:

Attachment C: Specific manufacturer information regarding vaccines

Attachment D: Vaccine reactions and duration of immunity

I have more information available if you need it. I would be more then happy to speak to you via telephone, email or meet with you in person. You’re help in this cause is desperately needed. Thank you for your attention and efforts in advance.

Best regards,

Jen Shipley


Cc: Hon. Katharine M. Watson, Governor Edward G. Rendell, Chase & Jen Utley

E-Mails for All Members of the Pennsylvania Assembly:

alloway@pasen.gov; dargall@pasen.gov; lbaker@pasen.gov; boscola@pasenate.com; pbrowne@pasen.gov; mbrubaker@pasen.gov; jcorman@pasen.gov; costa@pasenate.com; andy@pasenate.com; andy@pasenate.com; jearll@pasen.gov; jeichelberger@pasen.gov; eerickson@pasen.gov; ferlo@pasenate.com; mfolmer@pasen.gov; fontana@pasenate.com; jgordner@pasen.gov; sgreenleaf@pasen.gov; hughes@pasenate.com; kitchen@pasenate.com; logan@pasenate.com; cmcilhinney@pasen.gov; mellow@pasenate.com; bmensch@pasen.gov; musto@pasenate.com; musto@pasenate.com; opake@pasenate.com; jorie@pasen.gov; jpiccola@pasen.gov; dpileggi@pasen.gov; jpippy@pasen.gov; jrafferty@pasen.gov; jscarnati@pasen.gov; lsmucker@pasen.gov; stack@pasenate.com; stout@pasenate.com; tartaglione@pasenate.com; rtomlinson@pasen.gov; vance@pasen.gov; washington@pasenate.com; mwaugh@pasen.gov; dwhite@pasen.gov; mwhite@pasen.gov; williams@pasenate.com; wozniak@pasenate.com; gyaw@pasen.gov; wadolph@pahousegop.com; mbaker@pahousegop.com; bebarbin@atlanticbb.net; 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Member Since
Barked: Fri Jul 2, '10 5:58am PST 
The Legislative Secretary for Reprepsentative Vulokovich informed me on June 30th that she forwarded my letter to the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee for review.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Aug 25, '10 2:22pm PST 
PENNSYLVANIA Action Alert-- Rabies Medical Exemption SB 1454 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtT ype=HTM&sessYr=2009&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=1454&pn=2 164 just introduced by Senator Stewart Greenleaf has been referred to the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. Please contact the Committee members below and ask them to vote "Ought to Pass."

Senator Mike Brubaker, Chair (717) 787-4420 mbrubaker@pasen.gov
Senator Michael Waugh, Vice-Chair (717) 787-3817 mwaugh@pasen.gov
Senator Michael O'Pake, Minority Chair (717) 787-8925 opake@pasenate.com
Senator Joseph Scarnati (717) 787-7084 jscarnati@pasen.gov
Senator John Eichelberger (717) 787-5490 jeichelberger@pasen.gov
Senator Robert Robbins (717) 787-1322
Senator Elder Vogel (717) 787-3076 evogel@pasen.gov
Senator Gene Yaw (717) 787-3280 gyaw@pasen.gov
Senator Andrew Dinniman (717) 787-5709 andy@pasenate.com
Senator Shirley Kitchen (717) 787-6735 kitchen@pasenate.com
Senator John Wozniak (717) 787-5400 wozniak@pasenate.com


Member Since
Barked: Thu Dec 16, '10 8:02am PST 
PENNSYLVANIA: Rabies Medical Exemption Action Alert -- Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf will reintroduce SB 1454 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtT ype=HTM&sessYr=2009&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=1454&pn=2 164 in an effort to get a rabies medical exemption clause inserted into the Pennsylvania Rabies Code in the January session.

What You Can Do to Help

Contact your legislators immediately and ask them to co-sponsor and support this rabies medical exemption bill. You can find your legislators' contact information at this link http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ , and please ask every pet owner you know who may concerned about this to do the same. If no other legislator is willing to Co-Sponsor this bill, it will fail.


Member Since
Barked: Tue Feb 1, '11 4:15pm PST 
PENNSYLVANIA Rabies Medical Exemption Bill SB 90 http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2011 &sind=0&body=S&type=B&BN=0090 re-introduced by Senator Greenleaf is before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Please contact members below asking them to vote to pass this bill.


Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture Committee

Senator Elder Vogel, Chair (717) 787-3076 Evogel@pasen.gov
Senator Michael Waugh, Vice-Chair (717) 787-3817 mwaugh@pasen.gov
Senator Lisa Boscola (717) 787-4236 boscola@pasenate.com
Senator Joseph Scarnati (717) 787-7084 jscarnati@pasen.gov
Senator Mike Brubaker (717) 787-4420 mbrubaker@pasen.gov
Senator John Eichelberger (717) 787-5490 jeichelberger@pasen.gov
Senator Robert Robbins (717) 787-1322 rrobbins@pasen.gov
Senator Gene Yaw (717) 787-3280 gyaw@pasen.gov
Senator Andrew Dinniman (717) 787-5709 andy@pasenate.com
Senator Shirley Kitchen (717) 787-6735 kitchen@pasenate.com
Senator Timothy Solobay (717) 787-1463 tsolobay@pasenate.com

Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 3:41am PST 
PENNSYLVANIA Rabies Medical Exemption Bill SB 155 before the full Senate Monday 2/11/13.

The bill received unanimous support from the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/RCC/Public/listVoteSummary .cfm?sYear=2013&sInd=0&cteeCde=27&theDate=02/06/2013&rNbr=35 with an amendment (see amended exemption text Section 2 Subsection F http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtT ype=PDF&sessYr=2013&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0155&pn=0 368 ) and will be considered by the full Senate on Monday February 11, 2013.

What You Can Do to Help

Please contact your Senators http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/co ntact.cfm?body=S & ask them to support SB 155. Share this action alert & ask any of your pet-owning friends in Pennsylvania to contact their Senators to support the bill.


Member Since
Barked: Mon Apr 8, '13 5:45pm PST 
Pennsylvania Medical Exemption Bill SB 155 UNANIMOUSLY passed the full Senate today (4/8/13) & will go to the House for consideration next http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/bill_history.cfm?syear= 2013&sind=0&body=S&type=B&bn=155 .

Member Since
Barked: Sun Apr 14, '13 7:00am PST 
PENNSYLVANIA Medical Exemption Bill SB 155 has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2013 &sind=0&body=S&type=B&BN=0155 after passing the full Senate. Please contact Chairs JohnMaher, (717) 783-1522 jmaher@pahousegop.com, Joseph A. Petrarca (717) 787-5142 jpetrarc@pahouse.net , and members below and ask the Committee to SUPPORT SB 155.

Pennsylvania House Agriculture Committee Members

JohnMaher, Chair (717) 783-1522 jmaher@pahousegop.com
Joseph A. Petrarca Co-Chair (717) 787-5142 jpetrarc@pahouse.net
Mindy Fee (717) 772-5290 mfee@pahousegop.com
Mike Reese (717) 783-9311 Mreese@pahousegop.com
Stephen Bloom (717) 772-2280 sbloom@pahousegop.com
Michele Brooks (717) 783-5008 mbrooks@pahousegop.com
Gordon Denlinger (717) 787-3531 gdenling@pahousegop.com
Joe Emrick (717) 260-6159 Jemrick@pahousegop.com
Mikie Fleck (717) 787-3335 mfleck@pahousegop.com
Marcia Hahn (717) 783-8573 mhahn@pahousegop.com
David Hickernell (717) 783-2076 Dhickern@pahousegop.com
Rob Kauffman (717) 705-2004 rkauffma@pahousegop.com
Mark Keller (717) 783-1593 mkeller@pahousegop.com
David Millard (717) 783-1102 dmillard@pahousegop.com
Dan Moul (717) 783-5217 dmoul@pahousegop.com
Mike Tobash (717) 260-6148 mtobash@pahousegop.com
Deberah Kula (717) 772-1858 DKuhla@pahouse.net
Brandon Neuman (717) 783-4834 BNeuman@pahouse.net
Scott Conklin (717) 787-9473 SConklin@pahouse.net
Pamela DeLissio (717) 783-4945 PDelissi@pahouse.net
Sid Michaels Kavulich (717) 783-4874 SKavulic@pahouse.net
Rick Mirabito (717) 772-1314 RMirabit@pahouse.net
Mark Painter (717) 783-4073 MPainter@pahouse.net
Mark Rozzi (717) 783-3290 MRozzi@pahouse.net
Jake Wheatley, Jr. (717) 783-3783 JWheatle@pahouse.net

Member Since
Barked: Wed Jun 5, '13 1:36pm PST 
PENNSYLVANIA Medical Exemption Bill SB 155 was amended & reported out of House Agriculture Committee & had 1st floor consideration 6/4/13. 3rd & final consideration by Monday according to Co-chair Petrarca's staff http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/bill_history.cfm?syear= 2013&sind=0&body=S&type=B&bn=155 .