Rabies Prevention Program
Years ago, Jefferson County, Alabama, was unofficially known as the "rabies capital of the world"
due to the widespread occurrence of the disease in the domestic dog and cat population. After
implementation of an aggressive vaccination program by the Jefferson County Department of
Health, rabies is now confined to the occasional wild animal, such as bats, raccoons, skunks or
foxes. The Jefferson County Department of Health seeks to work with various agencies to
educate the public about rabies laws and the dangers of not vaccinating their pets.
Alabama State Law requires physicians to report all treatment of animal bites to the Health
Department. The Community Environmental Protection Division of the Jefferson County
Department of Health investigates confirmed reports of animal bites or scratches to determine if
there has been any exposure to rabies. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be quarantined
and observed by a licensed veterinarian for a period of 10 days from the occurrence of the bite or
According to Alabama State Law, every owner of a dog or cat is required to have their animal vaccinated against rabies. The Jefferson County Rabies Officer holds rabies vaccination clinics in every community in the county on a regular basis. Please contact the Jefferson County Rabies Officer, Thomas Dawkins, DVM, at (205) 856-3949 for information concerning the time and location if these clinics in your area. Of course, you may also take your pet to any licensed veterinarian to receive a rabies vaccination.
If you have a question concerning rabies prevention or rabies exposures, please call