Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Rabies Vaccinations and Invasion of Privacy

on October 18, 2008

I was at the city Animal Services office to renew Jasmine’s dog license and to provide proof of her Rabies vaccination the other day.  Of course, I had to peruse the available doggies…oh they were so cute.  There was a cute little dachshund there, but he was a puppy (bad for Jasmine) and a totally unsocialized stray (even worse for Jasmine), so I didn’t bring him home.  I know we’ll find the right dog sometime…it will just take some time.

When I got home, I coincidentally had an email from the Veterinary clinic where I take Jasmine.  They sent me a note that stated:

“As a courtesy to our clients we want to inform you that the City of San Jose is now requiring us to notify them of Rabies vaccines administered at our clinic.  We are required to send your name, address, phone number and pet’s information to the City of San Jose after we administer a rabies vaccine to your pet.  In the past, the veterinary field has resisted policing Rabies vaccines and the city has not enforced the California State Health and Safety Code that applies to this issue. Recently, however, the city is enforcing the code and requiring veterinarians to comply or risk losing their California Veterinary License.  This change is effective immediately as the city began enforcing State Health and Safety Code 121690 (e) and (h) as of July 1, 2008.”

I have a really big problem with this.  Veterinarians are VERY concerned about turning over this data to the city.  They feel that people might opt to NOT have their animals vaccinated if it means that their information will be turned over to the city.  It’s another reason why people dislike government…let’s just trample all over our right to privacy for the purpose of taxation.  I know…it’s rarely ever that simple, but I’m really uneasy about the larger implications.

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4 responses to “Rabies Vaccinations and Invasion of Privacy

  1. I have a personal interest in the whole privacy thing.

    I’m just curious. In terms of information, what are they getting that they didn’t already know? Your address isn’t private so all they’re learning is that you had your dog vaccinated. I think the question becomes is this valid information for the public domain or not?

  2. mwdonnelly says:

    What did the City get that they didn’t already know? For me, nothing. I do have a licensed and vaccinated dog. For others, they got names, addresses and phone numbers of licensed, unlicensed and rescued animals that got rabies vaccines. For those that are unlicensed, it’s a chance for the City to go after the owners to get the dogs licensed.

    The purpose of licensing is supposed to ensure public safety through the regular vaccination of animals. But in this case, the purpose of getting the rabies vaccination information is NOT to ensure public safety–it’s merely to get information to generate revenue for the City. If the point was to ensure that all domestic pets are vaccinated, they’d approach it in a different manner…it’s clear that they are going after people who have acted responsibly by vaccinating their pets. Do I have a problem with people NOT licensing their pets if they are acting responsibly? No, not really.

    My bigger issue is that the privacy of MY information is not being assured. There is NOTHING in the City’s ordinances that maintain the privacy of my personal information. There is no standard of care there. Could they use the information in ways that are objectionable to me? Yes. That’s where I get jiggy, so yes, the issue to ME is the information in the public domain.

  3. Anne says:

    I have two issues with this “Health and Safety code.” One is that it requires responsible pet owners to pay for a service that is supposedly aimed it irresponsible pet owners. Secondly, it requires me to get shots that I may not agree with. I have an indoor-only pet and do not wish to subject him to the health risks of vaccinations that he does not need. Many veterinarians don’t agree with the breadth of vaccinations required by the city, especially for indoor animals. Also, every time I take him to the vet, he is susceptible to fleas and viruses carried in by other animals. If my pet is healthy and happy, should I be forced to follow these procedures and pay for someone to force me on top of it? I’m all for reducing atrocious treatment of animals in our communities, but this is clearly not the way to do it.

  4. sharon says:

    Contra Costa County has been requiring veterinarians to provide this information to them for many years.

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