AB 2689 to modernize California rabies law

Save Our Dogs supports Assembly Bill 2689 (amended 4/22/2010), sponsored by Assemblymember Cameron Smyth. This bill would modernize existing California state law as it pertains to rabies vaccination paperwork.

Current California state law requires dog owners to provide proof to their local dog licensing authority that their dogs have been vaccinated for rabies. But the law is archaic and has been interpreted to require that the actual rabies vaccination paperwork be delivered or snail mailed to the dog owner’s local licensing authority.

Modern methods of providing proof of rabies vaccination include: fax, email, telephone, and online forms on the Internet. Current California state law does not allow for any of these options. AB 2689 would fix that, and dog owners would benefit.

AB 2689 would pave the way for the user-friendly dog licensing options that helped create the best animal control program in North America in Calgary Canada.

The modest change AB 2689 makes to state law would enable these benefits:

  • make it easier for dog owners to license their dogs
  • by removing the hassle, increase the number of licensed dogs
  • because more dogs picked up stray will be licensed, increase return-to-owner rates for dogs that get loose
  • decrease the number of dogs euthanized in animal shelters – saving dogs’ lives
  • improve the efficiency of local governments’ rabies compliance and licensing programs
  • increase dog licensing revenue for local governments

AB 2689 is a win-win for all stakeholders.   An earlier version of the bill contained provisions that dog owners objected to, so Assemblymember Smyth amended the bill to remove those provisions.

AB 2689 is a good bill and Save Our Dogs supports it.

AB 2689 is scheduled for a hearing and vote in the Assembly Local Government Committee on April 21.

California dog owners can phone their support to the Committee at (916) 319-2038 or (916) 319-3958 .

On May 6, AB 2689 passed the Assembly unanimously, 74-0.

On June 10, AB 2689 passed the Senate Heath Committee unanimously, 5-0.

[Update] A section of current California law (Health & Safety Code Section 121690) was copied and pasted into AB 2689 (as amended 4/15/2010) and this has generated some confusion.

AB 2689 would NOT  change anything in current state law pertaining to how frequently rabies vaccinations need to given or how frequently dog licenses need to be renewed.

AB 2689 would NOT impose a requirement for annual rabies vaccinations.

The purpose of copying the current law into AB 2689 was to clean up some awkward wording:

“It shall be the duty of the governing body of each city, city and county, or county…”


The governing body of each city, city and county, or county shall…”

“It shall be the responsibility of each city, county, or city and county to…”


“Each city, county, or city and county shall…”

It’s minor wordsmithing.