A man working out of retail store parking lots in southern Oklahoma may have charged hundreds of pet owners a fee to administer worthless rabies shots, a state official said Wednesday.
The dogs and cats may be at risk for the viral disease because it's not known if a real vaccine was used or if it was stored properly, said Cathy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
The animals are not considered vaccinated because state law requires the rabies vaccination be administered by a veterinarian or someone under the supervision of a veterinarian, she said.
As a result, if one of the dogs or cats bites a person or a pet, the dog or cat will have to be quarantined for 10 days to see if rabies symptoms develop, she said. In some cases, the animal may have to be euthanized so that its brain tissue may be submitted for rabies testing.
"This is a public health issue," Kirkpatrick said.
She said the rabies vaccinations were given by James Allen, of Ardmore. He is setting up shop under the name Dog City Animal Rescue in various retail parking lots in southern Oklahoma, she said.
He has advertised on the Internet site Craig's List, saying that he's giving rabies shots for $10 each, Kirkpatrick said. He issues a signed certificate of vaccination, listing himself as a veterinarian technician.
The Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has an investigator gathering information. Allen is not cooperating.
Allen is not licensed by the state to give rabies shots, Kirkpatrick said.
"He claims that he's in the process of getting his veterinary license, but he's not even a (veterinarian) technician," she said. "You can't say you're a technician unless you're registered with us."
A veterinarian technician must go through two years of college courses.
Allen apparently buys the vaccine at farm and ranch stores. Anyone can buy the vaccine.
"Just because you can buy clippers and scissors, you can't make yourself a barber," Kirkpatrick said.
Most farm and ranch stores sell the rabies vaccine for $3, she said.
He was reported seen Sept. 12 giving rabies shots at a Walmart parking lot in Sulphur, she said.
If apprehended, Allen could face misdemeanor counts accusing him of providing veterinary services without being licensed to do so, she said.
Murray County Assistant District Attorney John Walton said Wednesday he is willing to review any information or complaints the agency receives to determine whether to pursue criminal proceedings against Allen.
HOW TO GET HELP
The Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners is asking pet owners who have had their pets vaccinated by James Allen to fax a copy of the vaccination certificate he gave to 524-9012. The pet owners should also contact their veterinarian to get a proper rabies vaccination.