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Chapter 140: Section 145B Vaccination against rabies; certificate; tag; proof of vaccination; penalty

Section 145B. Whoever is the owner or keeper of a dog or cat in the commonwealth six months of age or older shall cause such dog or cat to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian using a licensed vaccine according to the manufacturer's directions, and shall cause such dog or cat to be revaccinated at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Unvaccinated dogs and cats acquired or moved into the commonwealth shall be vaccinated within ninety days after the acquisition or arrival into the commonwealth or upon reaching the age of six months, whichever last occurs. It shall be the duty of each veterinarian, at the time of vaccinating any dog or cat, to complete a certificate of rabies vaccination which shall include, but not be limited to the following information: the owner's name and address; a description of the animal, including breed, sex, age, name and distinctive markings; the date of vaccination; the rabies vaccination tag number; the type of rabies vaccine used; the route of vaccination; the expiration date of the vaccine; and the vaccine lot number.

The veterinarian shall issue a tag with each certificate of vaccination. The tag shall be secured by the owner or keeper of such dog or cat to a collar or harness made of suitable material to be worn by the dog or cat; provided, however, that the owner of a cat may choose not to affix a tag to his cat, but shall have the tag available for inspection by authorized persons. In the event that a tag is lost, the owner or keeper of the animal shall, upon presentation of the original vaccination certificate, be issued a new tag.

In order for a dog or cat to be accepted at an animal hospital, veterinarian's office or boarding facility an owner or keeper of such animal shall show proof of current vaccination against rabies; provided however, that if a dog or cat has not been so vaccinated or such owner or keeper fails to show such proof the animal shall be vaccinated against rabies prior to being discharged if the animal's medical condition permits.

 The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs or cats housed in a research institution.

Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars.

Note: Effective February 24, 1993