WVC 19 -
CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.
WVC 19 - 20 A-
ARTICLE 20A. VACCINATION OF DOGS AND CATS FOR RABIES.
WVC 19 - 20 A- 1
§19-20A-1. Purpose and policy.
The purpose of this article is to establish a rabies
vaccination procedure for dogs and cats and to check the spread of
rabies for the immediate preservation of life, health and safety
for the reason that rabies is spreading among dogs and cats, and
becoming a menace and danger to people, livestock, poultry and
game, and the provisions herein are designated to prevent the
spread of rabies.
WVC 19 - 20 A- 2
§19-20A-2. Vaccination of dogs and cats.
(a) A person who owns, obtains or possesses a dog or cat
within the State of West Virginia shall have the dog or cat
properly vaccinated against rabies with a vaccine capable of
producing immunity for three years, boostered one year after
initial vaccination and every third year thereafter. Dogs and cats
need not be vaccinated before the age of three months, but must be
vaccinated by the age of six months.
(b) Dogs and cats over six months of age entering the State of
West Virginia must have been vaccinated for rabies as set forth in
subsection (a) of this section prior to entry.
(c) A dog or cat may be vaccinated by any licensed
veterinarian or his or her assistant. If there is no licensed
veterinarian practicing in the county, a qualified person may be
appointed by the county health department to administer
WVC 19 - 20 A- 3
§19-20A-3. Vaccination record and report.
Whoever vaccinates or revaccinates a dog or cat against rabies
shall keep a record of such vaccination or revaccination, and on or
before the first day of each calendar month thereafter, shall mail
to or deliver to the county clerk of the county where the
vaccination takes place a report of such vaccination or
revaccination which shall include a number identifying the
individual record of the dog or cat vaccinated, a complete
description of the dog or cat, place where the dog or cat is kept
or harbored, name of the owner, keeper or harborer, his or her
address, date and type of vaccination or revaccination and such
other information as may be required by the county health
department or the county commission over the signature of the
WVC 19 - 20 A- 4
§19-20A-4. Vaccination tag and certificate.
Each person vaccinating a dog or cat for rabies shall provide
a "certificate of rabies vaccination" which shall contain the
(a) Name of the county where the owner of the animal resides;
(b) Vaccination tag number;
(c) Identification of the animal by color, weight, breed, age
(d) Name, address and telephone number of the owner;
(e) Type of vaccine, the manufacturer of the vaccine and the
(f) Date of the vaccination;
(g) Identification of the veterinarian, doctor of medicine or
person administering the vaccination;
(h) Such other information as the commissioner of agriculture
The owner of the animal shall retain the original certificate
of vaccination in his or her records. Copies of the certificate or
a computer printout that contains the information required above
shall be filed with the person administering the vaccination and
the clerk of the county commission in the county where the owner of
the animal resides.
Tags to be furnished by the county commission shall be of a
distinctive and easily recognized color, and shall have thereon
engraved, or stamped, the year of vaccination and the number
indicating the record above described. Such tag shall be securely
fastened to the collar worn by the dog and shall be given to the owner by the veterinarian, the doctor of medicine or the person
vaccinating the dog or cat at the time of vaccination.
WVC 19 - 20 A- 5
§19-20A-5. Type of vaccine to be furnished; fee.
It is the duty of the veterinarian, or person vaccinating each
animal to furnish vaccine of a type capable of establishing and
maintaining immunity for a period of not less than thirty-six
months and he or she shall charge and collect a fee of not more
than $8 for each animal vaccinated, if done at a clinic established
by a county commission or, if vaccinated at any other place, he or
she shall charge and collect a reasonable fee for his or her
WVC 19 - 20 A- 6
§19-20A-6. Offenses and penalties.
Whoever owns, keeps or harbors a dog or cat and fails to have
such dog or cat vaccinated or revaccinated against rabies, and
whoever vaccinates a dog or cat against rabies and fails or refuses
to keep and report the required record of such vaccination, or
fails or refuses to provide the required tag, or whoever obstructs
or interferes in any way with the enforcement of any section of
this article shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than ten
dollars nor more than fifty dollars, or be confined in the county
jail not less than ten days nor more than sixty days, or both.
WVC 19 - 20 A- 7
§19-20A-7. Enforcement of article.
The enforcement of the provisions of this article is in the
hands of the sheriff of each county, any of his or her deputies,
constables, natural resources police officers, and, if considered
necessary, there shall be a special officer to be appointed by the
county commission, who is authorized, empowered, and directed to
inspect rabies, pick up dogs and cats and dispose of dogs which are
not taxable or not vaccinated according to this article. The
sheriff of each county can have one or more sittings, if considered
necessary, in each district of the county, at which he or she shall
be present or have present one of his or her deputies or the
special officer above provided for, to take charge of all
delinquent dogs and cats and homeless dogs and cats that are not
vaccinated. The assessor of each county, or one of his or her
deputies, shall accompany the veterinarian, doctor, or the one who
administers the vaccine in these sittings for the purpose of
collecting taxes on dogs. All dogs which are not vaccinated and
for which taxes are unpaid become the responsibility of the sheriff
to catch and dispose of as is provided by law.
WVC 19 - 20 A- 8
§19-20A-8. Vaccinated dogs and cats may run at large; confinement
may be required by the commissioner of agriculture
within the limits of any quarantine area or locality;
and ordinances or rules may be promulgated by any
county commission or municipality relating to the
control and management of dogs within the county;
providing limited exemption for hunting and farm dogs
from county commission or municipality action.
Dogs or cats vaccinated in compliance with the provisions of
this article may run at large in any area or locality: Provided,
That the commissioner of agriculture may, pursuant to article nine
of this chapter, exercise his discretion to establish a quarantined
area or locality and to require all dogs and cats within the limits
of any quarantined area or locality to be confined as provided in
article nine: Provided, however,
That a county commission or a
municipality may adopt and enforce ordinances not inconsistent with
the provisions of article twenty of this chapter of the code, as it
considers necessary or convenient for the control and management of
all dogs in the county, or a portion thereof, vaccinated or not,
except as further provided herein: Provided further,
county commission or municipality may not adopt any ordinance which
purports to keep any vaccinated dog from running at large while
engaged in any lawful hunting activity; from running at large while
engaged in any lawful training activity; or from running at large
while engaged in any lawful herding or other farm related activity:
And provided further,
That the provisions of this section shall not
exempt any dog from any quarantine established by or any confinement order required by the commissioner relating to the
establishment of a quarantine.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session