To me, a good general rule is "avoid buying things that are offered for sale at discount prices by a guy in a parking lot." Unfortunately, many people can’t seem to pass up a "bargain" and can end up paying more in the end.
A good case in point is a man who was offering rabies vaccination of pets in retail parking lots in southern Oklahoma. James Allen advertised his vaccination "business" on Craig’s List and set up shop in various parking lots. He also signed vaccine certificates and listed himself as a veterinary technician. (One problem is that veterinary technicians aren’t allowed to sign rabies certificates. Another is that he is not one). Mr. Allen has yet to be apprehended.
Mr. Allen is suspected of vaccinating hundred of pets with what is, at least from a regulatory standpoint, worthless vaccine. Since the vaccine wasn’t administered by a veterinarian, all of those animals are considered unvaccinated. Therefore, if they are exposed to rabies, they face the prospect of euthanasia or a strict six-month quarantine.
Rabies vaccine must be given by a veterinarian in order for government authorities to consider an animal vaccinated in most regions. Mandating that rabies vaccine be administered by a veterinarian isn’t a money-grab or veterinarians protecting their turf – it’s a government regulation aimed at protecting pets and the public. Restricting rabies vaccination to veterinarians helps ensure that only proper vaccine is used, that the vaccine has been properly handled and administered, and that vaccination is adequately documented. In the absence of clear proof that an animal was properly vaccinated, it has to be considered unvaccinated, because you must err on the side of caution with a deadly disease like rabies.
It’s pretty sad that it’s so easy to get rabies vaccine in Oklahoma. It should only be available for purchase by veterinarians, but it’s apparently easy to obtain from farm and ranch stores. Apparently, stores in Oklahoma can sell the vaccine but are supposed to post a notice saying animals are not considered vaccinated if it’s used. Why you’d allow a store to sell the vaccine when you don’t recognize it as effective is beyond me, but that’s what’s happening.