Animal Bite Exposure and the Law

Ohio Law (OAC 3701-3-28) requires all dog, cat, or mammal bites be reported to the health district in which the bite occurred. The report shall be made by the person bitten, a health care provider, or a veterinarian with knowledge of the bite. To see rabies-specific laws and rules, visit Ohio Department of Health – Laws & Rules, Zoonotic Disease Program.

Actions of the Health District

Lake County General Health District is required to quarantine all dogs, cats, or mammals that bite people. The quarantine is for 10 days and is typically done at the animal owner’s home. The purpose of the quarantine is to ensure that the biting animal does not have rabies. If the biting animal has rabies, the symptoms of rabies will be seen within 10 days following the bite.

Reporting an Animal Bite

To report incidents using this web site, the bite/scratch/exposure must have occurred in Lake County, Ohio. To obtain contact information to report incidents that occurred in Ohio but NOT in Lake County, go to Ohio Department of Health – Find My Local Health Department and search using the address where the bite/scratch/exposure took place. Please provide the information requested below by using the tab key to move between fields. After receiving the information, a staff sanitarian will contact the animal owner and person bitten/scratched/exposed to assess the risk of rabies exposure and provide compliance information.

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Treating an Animal Bite
Rabies
Animal Related Links & Resources

What to do if you are Bitten or Scratched by an Animal

  • Clean the wound area thoroughly with soap and water and cover it with a clean dressing or bandage.
  • Try to obtain information about the animal’s owner.  It is helpful to have their name, address, and telephone number.
  • Try to obtain information about the biting animal.  Include the type of animal, breed, color, name, and rabies tag number.
  • Seek medical care from family doctor, urgent care, or emergency room as soon as possible. Many bites are puncture wounds that can easily become infected if not cared for properly.
  • Make sure that the healthcare provider reports the animal bite to the health department where the bite took place.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Transmission of the disease is through the saliva of an infected animal that can enter through an open wound or a mucus membrane. The virus travels through the central nervous system to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, the disease nearly always causes death. This is a disease that is preventable by keeping pets currently vaccinated against rabies and avoiding encounters with wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes. Visit the links below to see Lake County General Health District’s rabies fact sheet and resource guide.

Rabies Fact Sheet
Rabies Resource Guide

Vaccinations

For individuals that work regularly with any animals, wild or domesticated, the rabies vaccination is administered as a preventative measure, hopefully before a bite. However, post-exposure anti-rabies vaccinations can be administered to individuals after a bite. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Rabies Postexposure Care to learn more.

Rabies Related Links

More information is available on rabies in Ohio at Ohio Department of Health – Rabies & Animal Bites.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides information about the symptoms of rabies, how it is diagnosed, and the status of the disease in the United States and around the World. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Rabies

Watch the video Rabies: Simple Steps Save Lives for information from a veterinarian on rabies.

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) works worldwide to prevent human deaths from rabies and aims to eliminate deaths from canine rabies by 2030. Visit GARC- World Rabies Day to learn more about annual events to promote rabies awareness and prevention.