So what happens if more and more pet owners choose not to give their dogs a rabies vaccine?

First, dogs suffer. According to the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, “Dogs and cats that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should receive a rabies vaccination and be placed in strict isolation for 4 months. Isolation in the this context refers to confinement in an enclosure that precludes direct contact with people and other animals.”

Second, people who were bitten—often children—suffer. People bitten by unvaccinated dogs are more likely to receive rabies shots than those bitten by vaccinated animals.