Rabies & Animal Control

ATTENTION: If you have reached this page after being bitten by any animal, contact Richland Public Health at 419-774-4520 (419-774-4500 after hours) and ask for an Environmental Health Specialist who does rabies investigations. You will be advised to seek proper medical attention.*  The Environememtal Health Specialist will then begin an investigation.

*The Public Health Clinic at Richland Public Health is available for bite victims without a personal physician.

Animal Bite and Exposure Form

This fillable rabies bite report form is for use by all agencies contending with and required to report animal bites (dog or other non-human mammal).

Ohio Department of Health Lab Test Submission Form

For Veterinary Clinics and/or independent agencies sending in a specimen for testing.

About Rabies

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and/or other mammals. Rabies is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Mammals such as dogs, cats,  raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, or bats, can have rabies and transmit it to people. As rabies is a fatal disease, the goal of public health is to prevent and control the spread of rabies by conducting investigations for every reported animal bite in the County. Richland Public Health, with the help of the Rabies Program, enforces all rules and laws for rabies control set forth by the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code.

Symptoms of Clinical Rabies in Humans

Pain or numbness at the site of the bite, fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy. In some individuals, early nervous system involvement may be indicated by the presence of apprehension, anxiety, agitation, nervousness, insomnia, or depression. Symptoms rapidly progress, usually in a matter of days, to include paralysis, spasms of the throat, delirium, hallucinations, coma, cardiac arrhythmia, and finally DEATH. In humans it can take as little as 9 days or as long as 1 year for the symptoms of rabies to appear. Most people who get rabies however, develop symptoms within 60 days of being exposed.

Animal Bites

All animal bites occurring in Richland County are required to be reported to Richland Public Health. When a bite is reported, an Environmental Health Specialist will advise that the victim seek proper medical attention. The Public Health Clinic located at the Health Department is available for victims with no medical assistance. The Environmental Health Specialist will then immediately begin investigating the case for rabies.

The first step required by the Ohio Administrative Code is to quarantine the animal involved in a biting incident for a minimum period of 10 days from the day of the bite. The animal must be isolated and enclosed in a restricted area during the quarantine under the owners control or at a pound or kennel. The animal owner is responsible for any costs associated with the quarantine. If the animal becomes ill, dies, is lost, or is relocated during the period of quarantine, the animal owner is responsible to notify the Health Department immediately.

If symptoms suggestive of illness are present during the quarantine period, the Health Department will require the animal to be submitted for veterinary examination at your expense. During the quarantine period, the animal owner must provide documentation which demonstrates the current rabies immunization of the animal. If immunization is not current, the animal shall not be immunized until the initial quarantine period ends.

The animal shall remain in quarantine until the animal is be properly vaccinated, by a licensed veterinarian, and documentation of the rabies vaccination is provided to the Health Department.

Upon confirmation of immunization, the department will lift the quarantine and complete a release notice. Failure to comply with the provisions of Section 3701-3-29, Ohio Administrative Code, is a violation of Section 3709.21, Ohio Revised Code, and will be prosecuted in accordance with Section 3709.99, Ohio Revised Code.

How Do I Know If An Animal Is Rabid?

Most people think rabid animals can easily be spotted because they always drool excessively and foam at the mouth. In fact, most animals will display these symptoms only during the latter stages of infection, and sometimes not even then. A better way to identify animals that pose a risk is to recognize unusual or abnormal behavior. Rabid animals, wild or domestic, may stagger, appear restless, be aggressive, change the tone of their barks or growls, or appear to be choking. Wild animals sometimes lose their fear of humans and act friendly. Animals that usually are active at night may become more active during the day. Passive animals sometimes become fierce and aggressive.

Take The Bite Out Of Rabies

Information provided in brochure format by the Ohio Department of Health

Teach kids about the dangers of rabies

The CDC also has a site to teach kids about the dangers of rabies

Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Additional information about rabies is also available at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Questions or Comments

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