Ohio Department of Agriculture working to identify cause of dog illnesses; state enlisting help of Ohio veterinarians to identify and combat disease
REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is working with animal health experts to determine the cause and origin of a series of dog illnesses in the state. The department is also urging veterinarians in the state to contact the Division of Animal Health if they suspect any animals in their care are suffering from the same disease.
Kasich Moves Ag Director Zehringer To ODNR; Forshey To Lead ODA
Gov. John Kasich has put State Veterinarian Tony Forshey temporarily in charge of the Ohio Department of Agriculture following the decision to appoint Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer to lead the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Tuesday.
Tony Forshey has served as Ohio’s state veterinarian for the past six years.
Ohio’s livestock care rules will become effective today when Department of Agriculture Director James Zehringer signs off on them at a special ceremony in Fort Recovery. The establishment of these comprehensive livestock care standards was required by Ohio’s constitution following the passage of State Issue 2 in 2009.
Care standards for alpacas, beef, dairy, goats, horses, llamas, pork, poultry, sheep and veal will go into effect next month.
Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer today announced that animal care rules developed by the Livestock Care Standards Board will become effective on Sept. 29, 2011.
The establishment of comprehensive livestock care standards is required by Ohio’s constitution following the passage of State Issue 2 in 2009. The statewide ballot initiative specified creation of the 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board with the responsibility of obtaining industry and public input in developing livestock rules for alpacas, beef, dairy, goats, horses, llamas, pork, poultry, sheep and veal.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in two horses that died on a farm in Mercer County. This is the first incident of EEE in Ohio since an outbreak in 1991 in Wayne and Holmes counties. At this time, there are no known human illnesses associated with this confirmation.
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According to the Ohio Department of Health, municipal and county rabies vaccination ordinances cover only 45.4 percent of the dogs, 37.75 percent of the cats, and 23.1 percent of the ferrets in Ohio.
Ohio is one of only a few states in the country and the only state east of the Mississippi that does not have a statewide requirement for dogs to be vaccinated for rabies. Efforts to change this in the past by obtaining a statewide rabies vaccination requirement in Ohio have failed, most recently in 2008 when last-minute objections by the National Rifle Association scuttled the bill.
While local ordinances mandating rabies vaccinations can be adopted in Ohio’s communities, the ODH data demonstrate that a significant portion of Ohio’s pet populations remain outside the scope of a rabies vaccination requirement. OVMA continues to seek a state legislative solution to this public and animal health problem.
Legislation defining the operational aspects of the new Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board has passed the Ohio General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Strickland on March 31. The proposal, House Bill 414, outlines in more detail the provisions approved last November by Ohio voters in establishing a Livestock Care Standards Board.