One critic says it’s like “aiming a bazooka at an ant.”  But supporters say the proposed law strengthens the wall between rabies and humans.  

Rolla veterinarian Dan Brown is a state senator who wants a law enacted requiring all dog and cat owners to make sure the animals are vaccinated against rabies.  His bill says anyone who feeds or shelters an animal for three or more days would commit a misdemeanor if the animals don’t get their shots.

He says rabies most often is in wild animals.  But domesticated animals are the usual link between the rabid wild animals and humans. 

Some critics read his bill to mean farmers would have to inoculate their barn cats and people feeding feral cats in their neighborhoods would have to have them vaccinated.

St. Louis lawyer Dave Roland is the one who thinks the proposal is overkill. He cites numbers from the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Prevention for the last decade that there have been only about ten cases of domestic animal rabies  in the last ten years.  And he says Missouri has had only two rabies fatalities in the last 53 years. 

Brown says most communities already have rabies vaccination ordinances.  His bill targets rural areas. The Senate Agriculture Committee is studying it.

AUDIO: Listen to the committee hearing 47:45