Pet owner charged for not vaccinating dog as animal control cracks down

Published 10:22 pm Monday, October 2, 2017

Dallas County has stepped up its enforcement of a state law requiring pet owners to have their animals vaccinated for rabies.

According to Alabama Code, dogs, cats and ferrets are required to be immunized once they reach three months old.

“It’s state law to have rabies shots, but nobody follows through with it, so now we’re actually writing tickets,” said Ila Draine, animal control officer for Dallas County.

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Draine said since April she has written around 38 tickets to people for not vaccinating their animals.

“I want to say 90 percent of the houses I go to do not have [rabies] shots because it was never enforced before,” Draine said.

She said it’s an effort that started in April after several area veterinarians asked both the city and county to start enforcing the law due to a large number of unvaccinated animals.

“We’re enforcing it big time now,” Draine said. “We’re even going around doing rabies checks now.”

Draine said most of the people that have been cited got their pet vaccinated and paid the fine, while a few have surrendered their animals. Last week, a Valley Grande woman was charged with failure to immunize dog.

Draine said animal control checks for proof of vaccination when they are called out, and sometimes they do vaccination checks throughout neighborhoods.

The citation costs $54 for one animal and $77 for two or more animals without vaccinations. Draine said getting the ticket dismissed is simple.

“They have to go get a rabies shot from the vet, then they take that piece of paper from the veterinarian plus the ticket that I give them up to the courthouse,” Draine said. “Submit the paper showing they have the rabies tag, pay their fine and then it is dismissed.”

If the ticket is not paid, and the violator does not show up for court, Draine said a warrant is issued for their arrest. Draine said there have only been four cases of rabies in Dallas County in the last six years, and those involved raccoons, but she encourages people to get their animals vaccinated.

“We’re not out there to hurt the people or make money off the public. We’re just trying to get the public up to date,” she said. “If they have any questions, they can call the shelter an ask for me, and I can help them instead of them getting to the point where they end up in jail.”

The number for the Selma Animal Shelter is (334) 877-2204.