Animal Bites

State law requires the owner of any domestic animal (e.g. dog, cat, ferret, etc.) to notify the Animal Control Officer within 24 hours of an animal bite or scratch which has broken the skin. Owners should be prepared to provide the name, address and phone number of the injured individual, as well as current rabies certificates and (dog) license information.

The Department of Animal Resources - Division of Animal Health has established a state-wide rabies protocol that provides that any domestic animal that bites or scratches a person shall be ordered quarantined for a period of ten (10) days. During quarantine the animal shall be securely confined and kept from contact with any other animal. Animals may be released from quarantine only after a follow up investigation and approval by the ACO.

Instructions for Animal Bite Victims

  1. Document all of the following (if possible):
    1. Animal's breed and general description (size, weight, color);
    2. Owner's name, address and telephone number;
    3. Animal's rabies vaccination status;
  2. Visit your health care provider and follow his/her instructions regarding care for the wound.

  3. Contact the Animal Control Officer so that the animal may be quarantined. The ACO will update bite victims on the status of quarantined animals, including whether the animal has been deemed safe after ten (10) days.

Seek prompt medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • Increased pain or swelling
  • Redness, swelling or discharge from the wound
  • Fever in excess of 100°F (37.8°C)
  • Headache, confusion, bizarre behavior or seizure


For additional information about Animal Bites, Rabies and Quarantines please see these documents:

Rabies Protocol: Definitions

Rabies Protocol: Management of Dogs & Cats Which Bite Humans

Rabies Protocol: Management of Dogs & Cats Exposed to Other Domestic Animals

Rabies Protocol: Management of Dogs & Cats Exposed to Wildlife

Rabies Quarantine Transfer Policy