Dec. 16, 2010,
MADISON An animal rescuer has pleaded no contest to bringing a dog into
Wisconsin without proof of veterinary examination and rabies vaccination, after
the dog bit a child in the Madison family that adopted it.
rescuers have good intentions, but they may be unaware of our animal import
laws in Wisconsin, said State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt.
We have these laws in place to protect both human health and the health
of other animals in the state. And, as this case proves, consumers who take
these animals into their homes need to ask for documentation on the
animals health status.
Smith, Edgerton, was charged in Dane County Circuit Court and agreed to the
plea, along with paying more than $760 in a civil forfeiture and court costs.
She is the director of PAWS Institute Rescue.
According to court
documents, Smith brought the dog, a lab mix named Rocco, to
Wisconsin from Ohio in January 2009. A Madison family adopted him. Rocco bit
the girl on the face on Feb. 2, 2009, and her father reported the incident the
next day to Public Health-Madison & Dane County Animal Services. Smith
could not provide a health certificate that would prove Rocco had been
vaccinated against rabies, as required by state law.
rabies status was unknown, Rocco was quarantined in a veterinary clinic for 10
days for observation. Had he shown signs of rabies during that time, the child
would have had to undergo a series of injections and the dog would have had to
be euthanized. However, he remained healthy and was released to Smith.
years ago we had a rescue dog arrive in Wisconsin with rabies, Ehlenfeldt
said. That rescuer paid a penalty and was very contrite. Im
guessing she would tell others how important these laws are. Rabies is
virtually a 100 percent preventable disease in dogs. Its a disease that
is virtually always fatal, in every species including humans.
He offered this
advice to rescuers:
Dont bring animals into Wisconsin without
proper health certificates. A health certificate must be signed by a
federally accredited veterinarian who has examined the animal and found it to
have no signs of illness, and who can testify to the fact that it meets all
Wisconsins health requirements. For dogs, the certificate must indicate
that the animal has a current rabies vaccination if it is at least five months
old, and when the vaccination expires. There is no exception for rescue
Dont rescue animals until you know
everything that is involved. Know the animals history, the legal
requirements, the behavioral issues, and the physical needs of these animals,
and be prepared for the price in time and money that you may need to pay when
you rescue animals.
Dont adopt a rescue animal, or any animal,
without documentation of its health status. Ask for a copy of the
health certificate and examine it closely. If you have any questions, you can
call the Animal Health Division at 608-224-4872 or email
Please note: the dogs
pictured on this page are all brought in from out of state with NO Certificates
of Veterinary Inspection. They were sold at the 10 March 2007
Thorp Dog Auction.) Click on photos for
larger view and story.