Sam and Cecelia Gadd are shown with Molly when they began advocating for a rabies vaccination exemption.

Chino Hills residents Sam Gadd would like to see a memorial plaque installed at the city’s dog park to honor Molly who went down in state history for safeguarding ill dogs from receiving rabies vaccinations.

Molly died in June of this year.

Mr. Gadd told the Chino Hills parks and recreation commission Jan. 17 that the lives of many dogs have been spared because of  Molly’s Bill, named for his rescued pet, and he hoped a plaque could be placed on a bench or near a tree at the Vila Borba Park.

Molly’s Bill, named for the English Springer Spaniel belonging to Mr. Gadd and his wife Cecilia, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011.

The bill, AB258, was introduced by Supervisor Curt Hagman who was then a state assemblyman to create a rabies vaccination exemption for dogs whose health would be jeopardized.

“Thank God for Curt Hagman,” Mr. Gadd told the commission.

California law then required a rabies vaccination of every dog owner. The Gadds refused to vaccinate Molly, who was afflicted with chronic autoimmune disorder, because they believed the immunization would be fatal.

The refusal pitted the Gadds against the Inland Valley Humane Society, leading to the quarantine of Molly. They sought the assistance of Mr. Hagman.

The parks and recreation commission voted 4-1 to approve an 8- by 10-inch plaque similar to city park dedication plaques.

The matter will come before the city council at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a final decision.

Mr. Gadd noted that he was the first vice president of the Dog Park Committee that fought for a dog park eventually built by the developer of Vila Borba in Butterfield.

Community services director Jonathan Marshall said the Gadds proposed a $250 donation to the city for the purchase of dog bags for Vila Borba Dog Park, and in conjunction with the donation, wanted to memorialize Molly with the plaque.

He said the Gadds went through the city’s donation acceptance policy adopted by the city council in 2014 to provide guidelines for the acceptance of donations.

Commissioner Al Jackson voted against the plaque while offering condolences to Molly. He cited language in the policy that read: A donation may consist of cash, land, or in-kind contribution that is given without return consideration.

“If we take a donation of $250 in consideration of putting up a plaque, do we not open a door for other residents to offer a donation of $1,000 who would also like to have a plaque?” he asked. 

Mr. Marshall responded that Molly’s Bill was so significant that it made sense to accept the plaque. “I think it goes well beyond somebody wanting to just give money,” he said. “Their whole emphasis is acknowledgement.”

Mr. Marshall admitted the situation was not typical.

Mr. Jackson also asked about maintenance costs for the plaque and if any other similar plaque was located in city parks. He suggested that the wording on the plaque indicate that it was donated by the Gadd family and that AB258 is included in the wording.

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