New rule requires rabies vaccinations for WA pets

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Starting Sunday, rabies vaccines will be mandatory for pet dogs, cats and ferrets in Washington state.

While many cities and counties require rabies vaccinations for some pets, vaccinations have never been required by the state. The new rule was passed by the Board of Health this summer and takes effect on New Year's Day, says Donn Moyer of the Washington Health Department.

Bats are the primary source of rabies in Washington state, according to state officials who say that pet encounters with sick bats is a primary way that pets can be exposed to rabies.