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Rabies vaccination program starts March 8

There will be a Rabies Vaccination Verification Program starting in Butler County on March 8, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Alabama law requires that all dogs and cats three months of age be vaccinated against rabies on an annual basis. The law also requires that the owner must be able to provide proof of vaccination signed by a licensed veterinarian. Under the law, a stray dog or cat fed, harbored or otherwise permitted to remain on private property is considered to belong to the property owner or leaseholder and that person is responsible for obtaining vaccination of the animal.

Deputies will go door to door throughout the county and will be wearing white shirts and blue pants with ID badges. A notice of program compliance will be left at homes when deputies are unable to speak directly with someone and citations will be issued as circumstances and evidence dictate. Those who do not have their animals properly vaccinated will have to pay a penalty and will be required to have their pets vaccinated within seven days. Pet owners found in violation will be fined $20 for the animal plus cost of vaccination. Those failing to comply with the law will have a deposition summons issued and a court date will be set. Court costs and penalties could cost up to $500 and/or six months in jail.

The public is requested to have rabies vaccination certificates posted on or around their front door in plain view so rabies inspectors can move on to the next house.