(a) The county board of health shall nominate annually one duly licensed veterinarian from each county within the state for the position of rabies officer. Applications for this position may be received from any duly licensed veterinarian residing within the county, or in the event that no applications are received, from the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association. Applications shall be provided to the chair of each county board of health during the month of November. The county board of health, not later than January 31 of the appointing year, shall select and appoint a nominee, subject to the approval of the State Health Officer and the State Veterinarian. The appointee's term of office shall expire on December 31 of the year of appointment; provided, however, that he or she shall be eligible for reappointment. The rabies officer may be removed from office, for cause, by the county board of health or the State Health Officer.
(b) Appointments not made within the prescribed time limits specified in this section shall become the joint prerogative of the State Health Officer and the State Veterinarian after due consultation with the appropriate health officer.
(c) For the purpose of providing proper enforcement of this chapter, the county board of health is hereby invested with general supervisory and administrative authority for the implementation of this chapter. It shall be the duty of the rabies officer to immunize for rabies all dogs, cats, and ferrets covered under this chapter and he or she may employ as many licensed veterinarians to serve as deputies to aid him or her as he or she may desire. The rabies officer and his or her deputies in each county are clothed with limited police powers to the extent that they may issue citations for violations of this chapter as an agent of the county board of health, and shall not be subject to the limitations of Section 36-21-50. The sheriff and his or her deputies in each county and the police officers in each incorporated municipality shall be aides, and are hereby instructed to cooperate with the rabies officer in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. The compensation of the rabies officer and his or her deputies shall be limited to the fees collected from enforcement of this chapter.