Netanyahu family dog in quarantine after biting Likkud lawmaker

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Veterinary authorities quarantined the family dog of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after she bit a lawmaker at a Hanukkah reception.

The dog, Kaia, was placed in quarantine Thursday as per health ministry regulations after she bit Sharren Haskel, a Likkud member of the Knesset, and another person the previous day at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, the news site Ynet reported.

“We had to give away Kaia to be quarantined as legally required,” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page. “Following this incident, I became aware of the issue of quarantine regulations for dogs and I found in it problems that conform neither with logic nor compassion.”

He added he would ask officials from the health and agriculture ministries, as well as animal rights groups, to “formulate suggestions to change and improve the existing laws.” Netanyahu ended his post with a greeting and happy Hanukkah “to us all, two and four-legged alike.”

Dogs, cats and other mammalian pets who bit a person are required to be quarantined for 10 days of observation to determine they do not have rabies. In some cases, animals may be quarantined in their owner’s home but the vast majority of cases  — some 3,500 annually — are held in municipal facilities.

According to Ynet, Kaia bit the prime minister in July, shortly after they adopted her, and was not quarantined, though Netanyahu was given anti-rabies shots as a precaution.

Described by the Netanyahus as a “kind and friendly dog,” Kaia, who is 10 years old, suffers from bad hearing which makes her startle and sometimes bite when approached from the back, Ynet reported.

The news site published a picture of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry petting Kaia with Netanyahu during his last visit to Israel. Kerry is seen facing her.

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