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Nome Passes Ordinance Requiring Rabies Vaccination

fox in snow
Vulpes vulpes, the red fox, hunting in the sub-Arctic snow. Photo in the public domain, via Pixabay.

The Nome Common Council has passed Ordinance No. O-24-06-09, amending Section 10.30.100 of the Nome Code of Ordinances to require proof of rabies vaccination prior to importing any dog into the City of Nome. This ordinance aims to enhance public safety and protect both residents and pets from potential rabies transmission.

City Clerk and Acting City Manager Dan Grimmer emphasized the importance of this ordinance for public health. 

“It definitely was a concern of several pet owners, including the animal control officer, that people can potentially ship in animals from any of our villages without having to follow some sort of standard vaccination process,” Grimmer said. 

The ordinance mandates that “no person shall import or assist the import of any dog into Nome unless the dog has been immunized against rabies and parvovirus at least seven days before entry.” 

Proof of immunization must be submitted to the city clerk in the form of a signed certification by a licensed veterinarian or other acceptable proof.

The ordinance states that if proof of immunization is not provided within 24 hours or the dog is not removed from the greater Nome area, the dog will be seized and quarantined at the owner’s expense.

Click to access a copy.

Violators of the ordinance will face fines, with each day of violation constituting a separate offense. The fine for failing to provide proof of immunization is set at $500.

Alaska Airlines is Nome’s only commercial airline connecting it to the statewide hub of Anchorage. The airline already screens pets for rabies by requiring a health certificate. This new ordinance seeks to fill the gap between Nome and smaller villages travelers may end their travels at in addition to protecting residents of Nome. 

The move aligns Nome’s policy with other communities dealing with rabies like Kotzebue. For Grimmer, any step in the direction of preserving the health and safety of the community is a worthwhile endeavor. 

“Protection of people and pets for something that is transferable, I think is preferable,” Grimmer said.

The ordinance was approved and signed at a second reading held on June 24, 2024 and is effective immediately.

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