Residents could face chargers for rabies vaccinations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Forty Shelby County residents have failed to get their pets vaccinated for rabies in accordance with Alabama law Dr. James Green, the county’s deputy rabies officer, said.

Green said that those residents could face criminal charges and fines if they do not show that their pets have been vaccinated immediately.

“We held a preliminary hearing on June 17 for people who had not met the vaccination requirements,” he said.

“Eighty people had still not met the requirements at that time but half of those have now.”

Green said that the residents who failed to comply have little time left but that the prosecution process could take awhile because vaccination violations have never been charged in Shelby County.

Other Alabama counties such as Lee and Lowndes have already begun prosecuting violators.

Green said that people in those areas who failed to meet the vaccination requirements for their pets faced penalty amounting up to $424.

“We’ve sent out three warning letters to give people notice that they needed to get their pets vaccinated,” he said. “If residents did not respond to these letters they received a summons to appear at the preliminary hearing.”

Green said such residents will have one last chance, in the form of a “rabies docket”, to get their pets vaccinated before the cases are turned over to a district court for prosecution.

Green also noted the importance of the rabies requirements for preventing an outbreak of the disease.

“Rabies has always been a very serious public health problem,” he said.

“This is real and it can affect anyone.”

The Shelby County Rabies Vaccination program will host a rabies clinic at Buck Creek Park this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Green said that people still needing to vaccinate their pets will be able to purchase a shot for $9.

“We need to keep people tuned in to this problem,” he said. “It can affect a lot of people very quickly.