Bites, Rabies and Dangerous Dogs
Animal bites are a serious public health problem. Bites can result in psychological trauma, transmission of diseases including rabies, localized infection of the bite wound, permanent physical scarring or disfigurement and death.
If an animal bite occurs to a human, no matter how minor, it must be reported to Animal Services immediately with the following exceptions:
Bites of rodents, rabbits and hares, birds and reptiles represent no rabies risk. Human bites involving other domestic or wild mammals are evaluated on a case by case basis. A separate policy exists for vaccination issues and management of bites involving wolf/dog hybrids.
Protect your animals and yourself by obtaining vaccinations from a licensed veterinarian. You are required to provide a record of vaccinations in case of a bite by your animal.
Safety tips to avoid being bitten by a dog
- Don't run past a dog. A dog's natural instinct is to chase.
- Don't approach a strange dog!
- Let a dog see and sniff you before you pet it.
- Keep your dog confined. Chaining your dog is not recommended.
- Spay or neuter your pet. Unaltered pets are more likely to bite.
- Obedience train your dog. Obedience training will make a happy dog and a happy owner.
- Scold your dog when it is aggressive. Tell it in no uncertain terms "NO"
Prevent rabies through pet vaccinations
Rabies vaccinations are required at four months of age and boosters must be given when they are due. Rabies occurs most often in small, wild animals such as skunks, bats, foxes and raccoons. Remember, these are wild animals: don't feed or try to handle!
What is rabies?
Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is passed by scratches or bites from an infected animal. If untreated, it is fatal.
If your dog or cat bites someone, you must report it immediately to Animal Services. Animals that bite someone are observed for ten (10) days to determine if they carry rabies. If you or your pet have contact with a skunk, raccoon, bat or fox that could have resulted in exposure, report it to Animal Services immediately.
While there have been no cases of rabies in humans in Colorado for a very long time, bats and wildlife from Mesa County have tested positive for carrying rabies.