Animal Bites

Animal bites should be reported to the Shelby County Health Department between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. While persons bitten may need immediate medical attention, the bite report is not an emergency. However, it should be reported the day or the next working day.

Rabies is a fatal disease which is transmitted through the saliva or central nervous system tissue of an infected animal to another animal via bite or contact with an abrasion, wound, or any mucous membrane (exposure). 

There is a ten (10) day period in which rabies infected dogs and cats will begin to display systems of rabies. Hence, the ten (10) day mandatory quarantine for cats and dogs. 

An official exposure occurs when it is confirmed by a physician. Doctors and emergency rooms are required by law to report exposures to the County Health Department or Rabies Officer. Others may report the bite/exposure, but quarantine or sacrifice cannot be required until the exposure is official and confirmed by a physician. 

If an animal has to be killed, do not damage the head. After death, the animal should be refrigerated or frozen until it is taken to the Animal Shelter, health department offices or laboratory. 

The Shelby County Rabies Officer is appointed by the County Board of Health. The Rabies Officer must be a duly licensed veterinarian and shall be responsible for seeing that all dogs and cats in the county are vaccinated against rabies as required by law, to prosecute those who fail to do so and to assist the County Health Department when needed. 

Shelby County Animal Control will assist in the capture and transportation of unowned/stray, unvaccinated animals which have bitten a human. The unowned animal will be transported to the Animal Shelter for processing. 

The Humane Society of Shelby County operates the Animal Shelter and is responsible for holding animals collected by Animal Control. If the animal has bitten or exposed a human, the Humane Society will humanely destroy the animal and store the head until its sent to the State Lab for rabies examination. 

The Animal Shelter will not quarantine an owned animal who has bitten someone. All animals transported to the Animal Shelter following an official exposure will be destroyed and head provided to the County Health Department. Should an owned animal be transported to the Animal Shelter, the Humane Society will attempt to notify the owner and said animal shall be picked up immediately by the owner and transported by the owner to a licensed veterinarian. The owner will be responsible for paying the expenses associated with the temporary holding of said animal. If the animal is not picked up within seven (7) days from compoundment, it shall be destroyed pursuant to Alabama Law. 

Owned animals are the responsibility of the owner and must be quarantined under the control of a licensed veterinarian.