Aiming to enable some animals that have bitten other animals or humans to complete their mandatory quarantine periods at home, the Agriculture Ministry has distributed a preliminary bill that would amend the Rabies Ordinance on the matter.
The Rabies Ordinance, established in 1934 and last amended in 2004, currently requires that any animal that has bitten a person or another animal be quarantined by the owner at a municipal shelter within 24 hours of the bite’s occurrence. The issue recently became a hot-button matter when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's dog Kaiya spent time in municipal quarantine, after biting MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) and Or Alon, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely's husband, in early December.
Distributing the initial text of the proposed bill on Sunday, the Agriculture Ministry explained that such an amendment would balance the need to minimize the spread of rabies and curb the suffering posed to animals that are unnecessarily removed from their homes. Each year, about 3,000 dogs are quarantined for observation for rabies following a bite, the ministry said.
According to the recommendations of a professional committee from Veterinary Services, an animal would be eligible for home quarantine if it meets certain conditions and if there is no fear regarding the risk of spreading the disease. The animal would need to be vaccinated and properly licensed, held under the responsibility of the owner and brought to the city's veterinary department for testing.