Rabies Control

All owned dogs and cats residing in Montgomery County are required to be inoculated against the rabies virus. The State of Tennessee also requires all dogs and

Rabies is a serious and deadly disease that infects the central nervous system and can affect all mammals including humans. The virus is spread from the saliva of an infected animal through a bite, break in the skin, or mucous membranes (ear, nose, mouth). It is possible to prevent the rabies virus if the person exposed is given immunization soon after the bite has occurred.

If you have been bitten by an animal, it is highly recommended to clean the wound immediately and seek medical attention. MCACC should also be contacted immediately so that the animal can be captured, if loose, and/or start the quarantine procedures for the animal. (931) 648-5750 Once the symptoms of the rabies virus become present, between 10 days and 7 years, survival is rare as there is no known cure.

If it is determined that an animal has bitten, which is defined as any break in the skin caused by the tooth of an animal, MCACC will place that animal under a quarantine, as defined in the State of Tennessee Code 68-8-109.

§ 68-8-102 Tennessee Anti-Rabies Law – definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Cat" means all domesticated members of the feline family;
(2) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of health or a duly authorized representative;
(3) "Compendium or rabies compendium" means the most recent issue of the national "Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control" published by the Association of State Public Health Veterinarians;
(4) "Confinement" means housed in a building, pen or by some other suitable escape proof method or enclosure or being leashed;
(5) "Department" means the Tennessee department of health;
(6) "Dog" means all domesticated members of the canine family;
(7) "Hybrid animal" means the offspring of wild animals crossbred to domestic dogs or cats or any of their progeny for which the owner has records substantiating that their
genetic heritage consists of twenty-five percent (25%) or more from wild animals. Crossbred dogs or cats with less than twenty-five percent (25%) documented genetic heritage from wild animals will be considered as domestic dogs or cats for purposes of this chapter;
(8) "Observation period" means the time following a bite incident during which the biting animal's health status must be monitored;
(9) "Owner" means any person having a right or property in a dog or cat, or who keeps or harbors a dog or cat, or who has it in such person's care or acts as its custodian, or who permits a dog or cat to remain on or about any premises;
(10) "Peace officer" means animal control officer, police, rabies control officer, sheriff, wildlife officer, or similar duly appointed law enforcement officer of the state or any political subdivision thereof, authorized by the Constitution, statutes, charter, or ordinances to enforce statutory, rule, charter or ordinance violations. It does not include employees of the department assigned to implement the provisions of this chapter;
(11) "Quarantine" means a state of strictly enforced isolation from other animals or the public imposed to prevent the spread of disease;
(12) "Shelter" means animal or humane shelter, dog pound or animal pound;
(13) "Vaccination" means the injection of a rabies vaccine for animals, which meets the standards prescribed by both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) license granted to the vaccine for interstate sale and by the department; and
(14) "Veterinarian" means any individual licensed by the state board of veterinary medical examiners to practice veterinary medicine in this state. 

§ 68-8-103 Anti-Rabies Law – vaccination; certificate and tags;


(a) It is unlawful for any person to own, keep or harbor any dog or cat six (6) months of age or older that has not been vaccinated against rabies as required by this chapter, or the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.
(b) Dogs and cats may be vaccinated as early as three (3) months of age or at an age as specified by the vaccine's United States department of agriculture (USDA) license, but will be considered as noncompliant with this section if over six (6) months of age.
(c) Ferrets, certain livestock, hybrid animals and other animals may be vaccinated for rabies if a vaccine is legally available for that species. Routine rabies vaccination of animals other than dogs or cats is not required unless deemed necessary by the commissioner or by emergency rules of the department.
(d) All rabies vaccinations of dogs and cats as required by this chapter shall be administered only by or under the supervision of a veterinarian.
(e) Evidence of such vaccination shall consist of a certificate that contains the owner's name and address, date of vaccination, date the dog or cat should be revaccinated, description and sex of the dog or cat vaccinated, number of the vaccination tag issued when applicable, manufacturer and lot number of vaccine administered, and
the name and signature of the supervising veterinarian. If the vaccination is given at an animal control facility or shelter, then the certificate shall contain the name and signature of the person administering the vaccine as well as that of the supervising veterinarian.
(f) The vaccination certificate shall be prepared in one (1) of the following manners, unless otherwise provided for by rule:
     (1) Paper forms in triplicate; the original shall be given to the owner, the first copy provided to and retained by the department, and the veterinarian administering or supervising              the administration of the vaccine shall retain the second copy; or
     (2) Computer printout or electronic format, such that the owner, the department and the veterinarian administering the vaccine obtain a copy of the information provided for in              subsection (e).
(g) The rabies certificate form and rabies tags shall be provided by the department.
(h) A licensed veterinarian may provide and use an alternative tag and certificate providing that the requirements in subsections (e) and (f) are met.
(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require more frequent rabies vaccinations or a greater number of rabies vaccinations than are required by the rabies compendium.

§ 68-8-104 Anti-Rabies Law – registration of vaccinated cats and dogs may be required; registration fees, use of

(a) In addition to, but not as a substitute for or in any way detracting from the vaccination requirements of this chapter, authorization is granted for the adoption of local laws or ordinances to require the registration of dogs or cats in counties or municipalities.
(b) Any local laws or ordinances implementing animal registration shall include methods for the collection of registration fees and shall require the expenditure of these funds to establish and maintain a rabies control program, also commonly known as an animal control program. In addition to various animal control activities, the rabies control program shall ensure that dogs and cats are properly vaccinated in accordance with this chapter and that biting animals or rabies suspects are observed or confined in accordance with this chapter and rules of the department.
(c) No dog or cat registration certificate shall be issued unless an unexpired certificate of rabies vaccination is exhibited.
(d) All fees collected for registration shall become part of the county or municipality rabies control fund and shall be disbursed by the appropriate trustee in a manner prescribed by the local legislative body for the sole purpose of the payment of salaries, for the establishment and operation of an animal shelter, for the establishment and operation of an animal control program, or for other expenses incidental to the enforcement of this chapter in the jurisdiction to which the registration requirement applies. 
(e) Any funds remaining at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried over to the next fiscal year, and its expenditure authorized by the local legislative body only for the purpose of rabies and animal control.