A new state law relating to the sterilization of dogs and cats may have a little more significance in Coffee County.
A rabid raccoon and fox were found in separate Elba neighborhoods last month; officials say it's essential to cut down on the number of stray and abandoned animals.
Elba's Animal Control officer George Homyak describes stray and abandoned animals in epidemic proportions.
Last year, he carried more than 400 cats and dogs to the Elba Animal Shelter. Homyak says that's 10 percent of the city's population.
Under the new state law, those who adopt dogs and cats have 30 days to get them sterilized. The owners of puppies can have as long as 180 days.
“Most of the days I pick up many of the animals. If they do have sicknesses it's usually from dog to dog,” said Homyak
Joann Carlisle is keeping a close eye on her cat, Lazybones. Last month, authorities picked up a rabid raccoon next door. It's been an eye opening experience.
“It's hard to believe something like that happened here. I would have thought that would happen in the country,” said Carlisle.
With the recent cases of a rabid raccoon and fox, authorities say it's more important than ever to make sure that your dog and cat is up to date with rabies vaccination.
“Our animal officer makes every attempt to get up with an owner, or make sure that a stray dog or cat doesn't have a disease,” Chief Freddy Hanchey of Elba Police Dept.
Homyak asks residents to avoid having their animal picked up by either having it on a leash or fenced in. Failure to comply with the new state animal sterilization law could lead to fines between $50 and $200.