Proving authenticity of a dog's vaccination record?

To make a long story short my 5 year old was bit by a dog. He was not seriously injured. However the skin was broken. So of course I am concerned about the animal’s vacinations and if they are up to date.

So the pet owner said they were up to date and I get via Email a spradsheet that has some dates for when the dog was last vacinated. My thought is that anyone could punch in any old date and call it a day. Especially since there isn’t a signature of the veternarian anywhere on the “document”.

So how can I get something that would ease my concerns?

I live in Michigan.

In Pennsylvania there is a state certified document given to you when your pet is vaccinated against rabies. It looks something like this (PDF file).

My understanding is that you are entitled to see this document in a situation like yours. Your state or county health department is the place to call if the animal’s owner fails to comply. They, in turn, will use the police/courts to force compliance.

Would Dopers here agree that a spreadsheet with the vet’s letterhead at the top be good enough?

I do have the local animal control officer on the job, and he said he went to the vet and gave him a document similiar to what I recieved. But I caught the owner in a lie when this first happened and I believe that he has the potential to commit fraud if it suits him. And from what I understand the animal itself has not been picked up and placed in quarantine as of yesterday morning. It makes me wonder what’s going on…because the owner is some local “celebrity” and I suspect he is pulling favors.

When I was bitten by an unvaccinated dog last year, the dog wasn’t placed in quarantine (the dog remained with the owner), but an animal control officer examined the dog at a certain time after the bite (10 days? not sure) and the dog was showing no signs of rabies. I was in the clear and didn’t have to get treatment.
I always thought officials took charge of animals and kept them in a kennel until a determination was made.

Hmm that must be it then. The officer told me that had the dog been actually sick with rabies when he bit my child last week the dog would have been dead by the Monday or Tuesday after last Saturday. I guess I just want to see if the owner lied to me and had a pal in the vet’s office adjust the record. And also to give me peace of mind. Even though the dog wasn’t sick-looking when he bit…I am still worried.

Since you are
A) worried
B) have the Vet’s name
How about printing the spreadsheet, and stopping by the Vet’s office and asking if they can verify the dates in question?
Would seem to be the simple way out.

In MA, rabies vaccinations are recorded with the state by your vet and your dog or cat is issued a paper certificate and a metal rabies tag. If I were bitten the dog or cat owner (or the vaccinating vet) would have to furnish my local board of health with the dog or cat’s current rabies tag number and the vet would have to verify that the tag number belonged to that particular animal and was the current number (they get a new number every time they get vaccinated).

I would not accept a spreadsheet, nor would the board of health.

500 miles away.

I don’t trust the vet due to the fact that the owner of the dog already lied to my face (he said this was the first time his dog ever did this…which proved false VIA another neighbor), and also he is a local celebrity/personality that could possibly do him a favor. I was hoping that there was something higher up like a health department that would have a rabies vaccination record on the animal based on…well I guess at this point false hope. No signature on the “document” is suspicious to me, but I am not a lawyer.

That’s awesome. Someone finally agrees with me.

That’s exactly the verbage I was looking for Motorgirl.

So perhaps if I call the MI Department of health I could get this info?

Does anyone know if this information is available to the public, or does the owner of the animal have to consent to the release of this information? I highly doubt that the owner would cooperate at this point. I am hoping that I can just make a call and get copies mailed to me or faxed.

If Animal Control is involved and has verified with the vet that the dog has been vaccinated, I don’t think there is a lot more that you can do. You could always call the vet and ask them if they will give you a signed copy of the vaccination certificate or ask if it has been provided to Animal Control.

Do you really think your child has been exposed to rabies or are you just mad because you don’t think enough is being done to punish your celebrity neighbour?

Well I would be lying if I said I wasn’t mad. However, I have reason to be angry. The owner lied to me that his dog had never done something like this before. He didn’t provide an official document to PROVE that his dog was up to date at the time of the bite. For all I know his dog could have been exposed to virus and it is incubating in her spine. Of course I am not an epidmeologist(sp) but I don’t think its too much to ask to get verifiable proof that the dog was vaccinated/protected by the vaccine (including whatever overlap exists with the rabies vaccine).

I dont think its right that my wife and I have to sweat it out like this. Since he has already demonstrated his dishonesty right to my face I feel strongly that I need verification from a higher authority.

There is this marvelous invention called a telephone, perhaps you have heard of it?
By punching the correct 11 numbers you can talk to the vet’s office.
Also if the vet is 500 miles away I’m wondering about your use of the term local celebrity. Five hundred miles is not local where I live.

But you cannot really trust them either, can you. They could lie to you or forge the documentation. After all, the owner is a local celebrity/personality and they could just do him a favor.

You really need to contact the Feds (before he does!) :wink:

My vet will only release that info with either the owner’s signed consent or the appropriate order form the dept of health.

I actually did call the vet in question and they would not release the records to me because the owner of the dog that bit my kid did not give consent.
And when I said he is a local celebrity/personality I meant to the area he resides in that I mentioned is 500 miles away. I am surprised that you need that explained to you.

I would trust the authenticity of the health department much more than some po-dunk small town vet.

Thankyou. This is correct as I found this out myself. I hope the case isn’t the same for the Departmentof Health for MI, or the county where the dog lives.

IME, the health dept accepts no shit when communicable deadly disease is a possibility. They will order compliance and will, if the victim demands, have the animal tested if not currrent. Testing involves euthanasia and testing of brain tissue, and results are ready in under 24 hours (again, my experience speaks for PA).

When I had my cat vaccinated for rabies in Michigan I definitely received a rabies certification, and I can’t remember if it was written on the form, or if the vet told me, but it was clear that if my animal ever bit a human, that cert was the only thing standing between it and immediate seizure/destruction.

I am not sure of the Dept of Health will tell you if the dog is vaccinated directly, but they have the power to inquire. The will certainly take an interest in a reported dog bite. As you can see from their animal bite protocol, a domestic animal that has bitten a person must be confined for 10 days, even if showing no sign of illness.

Michigan Dept of health Animal Bite Rabies Protocol

Wow. Maybe that’s why the owner has been so evasive. Perhaps the vaccination is not current and he fears that his dog will be destroyed. Here it is a week today and the dog has not been picked up yet. I just don’t get the feet dragging on this issue. I know that his vet office is aware that my son was bit by his dog. I would think that his vet would have recognized the seriousness of this situation and provided a signed copy of the record with a number or some other official acoutrement…