Animal Control / Bites
The Animal Control Officer conducts surveillance for dogs running at large and investigates all complaints relating to animals within the city. All animal bites resulting in human exposure within the city of Portsmouth are investigated to prevent the spread of rabies.
Animal bites/scratches that are treated at a hospital or urgent care facility are required to be reported to the Portsmouth City Health Department if they occurred within the city limits. Bites and scratches which are not treated at a hospital, or for which there is a further concern or need for investigation should be reported directly to the PCHD at (740) 353-5153.
An animal bite or scratch could be considered a potential exposure to the rabies virus. Although rabies in humans is rare in the United States, and it is mainly a disease of wild animals—bats in particular—it is considered reportable to the Ohio Department of Health on a yearly basis. Because rabies is an entirely preventable disease, it is important to have your pets vaccinated. Protect both you and your pets by having them vaccinated and keeping all vaccines up-to-date.
Section 3701-3-29 of the Ohio Administrative Code states that “no owner, keeper or harborer of a dog, cat or ferret that is four (4) months of age or older shall fail to have such animal currently vaccinated against rabies by or under the supervision of a veterinarian”.
What this means is that as a pet owner you are required by the state of Ohio to have your dog, cat or ferret vaccinated against rabies at the age of four months, and thereafter as directed by your veterinarian. The vaccine MUST be administered by a licensed veterinarian and cannot be bought at a local feed store, from the internet or any other independent source and given to the animal by you.
Frequently Asked Questions
IF MY DOG BITES SOMEONE, DOES THAT MEAN YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE IT AND PUT IT TO SLEEP?
No. This is a common concern among pet owners who receive a letter in the mail following a dog bite incident. Our primary concern is that the pet has been properly vaccinated and shows no signs of the rabies virus and therefore has not transmitted the virus to a human or to other animals. This is done by confining the animal at home, or under a licensed veterinarian’s care and by prohibiting contact of the animal under your control to the public. The animal is to be confined for ten (10) days and then taken to a veterinarian for an evaluation and vaccination if required. A form will be mailed to you in the case that your animal has bitten someone and it has been reported to the Portsmouth City Health Department. This form needs to be taken to the veterinarian with the animal, filled out by the licensed veterinarian and returned to us in a timely manner.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF MY DOG HAS NOT BEEN PROPERLY VACCINATED OR IS NOT UP-TO-DATE ON ITS SHOTS?
Confine your animal as ordered by the health department for the required ten day period. After this ten day period is up, take the animal to a licensed veterinarian who will determine if your animal requires rabies vaccination. Failure to comply with this procedure MAY RESULT IN LEGAL ACTION.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I CONFINE MY ANIMAL, HAVE IT VACCINATED AND SEND THE PAPERWORK BACK TO THE HEALTH DEPT.?
A letter will be sent to the person who has been bitten to notify them that there is no potential threat of rabies transmission due to the bite they have sustained. The important thing to remember is that you are responsible for your animal. In the event that it has bitten someone and you do not follow the proper procedures and we cannot verify that the animal does NOT have the rabies virus, we may be required to advise a person to seek a physician as to whether or not they should take the rabies post exposure vaccination which is a series of five (5) doses and can be expensive.