Dog owners in New Brunswick could face stiff fines if they fail to vaccinate their pets against rabies.

The provincial SPCA is cracking down on vaccinations now that more than a dozen confirmed cases of rabies have been found.

“If we find your dog running at large you’re not only going to be looking at that fine, but we’ll also be checking for rabies vaccinations, and if you haven’t had them vaccinated we’ll be looking at an additional charge,” says executive director Hilary Howes.

Howes says dog owners could be fined anywhere from $140 up to $640 if their pet doesn’t have the latest rabies vaccine.

“If you are a responsible pet owner you are going to vaccinate your animals and keep them in the house at night because that’s when predators are out,” says Marg Harding, a councillor in St. Stephen.

Harding says there have been 14 confirmed cases of rabies in the St. Stephen area so far.

“A couple of weeks ago my feeders were attacked and I presume it could have been a raccoon but I have not seen any,” she says.

The New Brunswick SPCA says it will fine anyone whose dog isn’t vaccinated, but it is focusing on the Charlotte County area, where more cases have been reported.

“All along the New Brunswick – Maine border right now people should be looking at getting their animals vaccinated because it is coming up from Maine, we believe,” says Howes.

He says the SPCA and province’s rabies committee have had meetings to address the issue.

The province dealt with a similar outbreak in the early 2000s. They trapped, vaccinated and released raccoons and also laced bait with the vaccine and left it for the animals.

They may take the same approach again if the province deems it necessary, but so far no decisions have been made.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Dunbar