Victims of domestic animal bites or cat scratches should seek medical attention and report the incident to Animal Control and/or Florida Department of Health - Charlotte County. Our department will contact all parties to complete a Bite Report and to quarantine the animal(s) involved. Animal Control reserves the right to deny any home quarantine based on the circumstances, vaccination status, or prior incidents involving the bite animal.
Pursuant to Florida Administrative Code, domestic animals that bite humans must be quarantined for a period of 10-days from the date of bite. Dogs, cats, and ferrets which bite or otherwise potentially expose a person to rabies can be confined for observation for 10 days. Horses can be confined for a 14-day observation period.
This does not apply to domestic animals which bite other domestic animals.
Wildlife primarily raccoons, foxes, bobcats, bats and skunks may be tested if they bite, scratch or are suspected of exposing humans or domestic pets to the potential transmission of rabies.
Humans that are exposed to a wild animal should seek medical attention immediately and the incident must be reported to Animal Control and/or the Florida Department of Health - Charlotte County for information on possibly receiving post-exposure treatment, containment of the animal and to determine if rabies testing is needed.
Domestic animals potentially exposed to wildlife:
- Pursuant to Florida Administrative Code, domestic pets that are currently vaccinated against rabies, are subject to a 45-day quarantine. The pet must be revaccinated immediately going into quarantine. The quarantine period is 45 days for vaccinated dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle, and sheep.
- Pursuant to Florida Administrative Code, unvaccinated domestic pets (or pets whose owners are unable to produce documentation of a current rabies vaccination for their animal) are subject to a 180 day quarantine for unvaccinated dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle, and sheep. The exposed animal should either be vaccinated upon entry into quarantine OR 30 days before being released from quarantine to comply with pre-exposure vaccination recommendations.
- If a domestic pet is designated unvaccinated because they are overdue for vaccination at the time of exposure, the animal should be boosted immediately on entry into the 180-day quarantine.
All quarantines are strictly enforced. Animal Control will periodically perform home quarantine checks to ensure the animal is properly confined and appears to still be in good health. Home quarantines are not an owner's right, but are evaluated based on the circumstances, vaccination status, or prior incidents involving the bite animal. If a quarantine is needed at an alternate location other than the owner's home, the owner is responsible for any and all associated costs.
Important Information Regarding Rabies & Animal Bites
- The Rabies Virus - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Rabies Prevention - Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention
- Rabies Compendium 2014 - Florida Department of Health
- Rabies Prevention Program - Florida Department of Health
- Rabies Surveillance Data - Florida Department of Health
- Quarantine of animals
To report a bite or exposure by fax, fill out the Animal Bite Report form and fax 941.833.5691
Dog Bite Prevention Tips
- Pet Sterilization - Animals that are not spayed or neutered, particularly male dogs, may be at increased risk of biting people
- Do not leave your dog on a chain for long periods of time. Chained dogs are more likely to bite
- Don't put your dog in situations where it may feel threatened or teased
- Follow leash laws and don't let your dog roam freely off of your property
- Make sure your dog is vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian
- Socialize your dog so it feels at ease around people and other animals