Office Manager, Deputy Registrar
Animal Control Officer/Code Enforcement Officer
Chad Wamsley, SIT
Sanitarian in Training
Environmental Health Departments and Programs
The Environmental Health Division is responsible for safeguarding the health and welfare of the public.
This includes but is not limited to food service and retail food establishment inspections, swimming pool inspections, school inspections, other state mandated inspections, animal control, solid waste/housing/nuisance complaint abatement, the issuance of birth and death certificates and burial permits.
The Environmental Division provides the required permits to exterminate houses prior to demolition to prevent the migration of pests during the razing of properties.
Extermination permits are $25.00 each and must be completed at the Health department.
The Environmental Health Division inspects all licensed food service and retail food establishments in city of Portsmouth.
As part of the food safety program, the Environmental Health Division also inspects all licensed temporary food events and all licensed mobile food service operations.
This section contains useful food safety information and links to ensure food is safely prepared, stored, and handled.
The Portsmouth City Health Department investigates all nuisance complaints including: housing, solid waste/trash/garbage, sewage, animal complaints and restaurant/food complaints.
Please contact the Environmental Health Division at (740) 353-5153 to file a complaint.
Please provide a correct address for the complaint at the time of your call.
All complaints may be given anonymously.
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.
Animal Control Frequently Asked Questions
If my dog bites someone, does that mean you are going to take it and put it to sleep?
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 Department?
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.
The goal of the Land Reutilization program is to purposefully acquire blighted properties, return them to productive use and improve the quality of life for Portsmouth residents. Citizens that wish to purchase one of these properties may fill out an application at the link below,. The submitted applications will then be reviewed by a neighborhood advisory committee.
PLEASE NOTE: After you acquire the property, you must bring it into compliance with city ordinances. This means that if you purchase a vacant house, you will need to renovate it, or have it demolished. If you buy an empty lot, you must make sure the lot is maintained.
If you are interested in an abandoned property that is not on the list below, you may contact us, and we will determine if it is a candidate for the Land Reutilization Program. Properties must be vacant and tax delinquent for three years to qualify.
If you have any questions about the program, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (740) 354-8910.
State Mandated Programs
Recreational Vehicle Parks (RV), recreation camps (campgrounds), combined park-camps, and temporary park/camps in Ohio are regulated under the authority of Chapter 3729 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). All camp and park rules are developed by the Ohio Department of Health. These camps are inspected monthly during their open season which begins during the license period on April 1st and extends to the last day of March of the following year.
A recreation camp (campground) is defined as any tract of land upon which five (5) or more portable camping units are placed. RV parks and campgrounds are subject to the rules for construction, layout, drainage, sanitation, safety and operation as specified in OAC 3701-26
Routine inspections regarding campgrounds and parks typically cover sanitation, pest control, fire and electrical, and wastewater/solid waste management. Efforts to keep campers from disrupting each other AND the environment are made to assure that preserving public health is top priority during the warmest months of the year.
Manufactured Home Parks are now regulated by the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission. All manufactured home parks must still comply with the rules for construction, drainage, flood-plain management, sanitation, safety and operation specified in Chapter 3701-27 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC). These codes and regulations are enforced by the Portsmouth City Health Department for Manufactured Home Parks located within the city limits.
The definition of a Manufactured Home Park is any tract of land upon which three (3) or more manufactured homes used for habitation are parked. Manufactured homes within parks must be installed and inspected in accordance with standards adopted by the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission as specified in Chapters 4781-6 & 4781-7 of the OAC.
Manufactured Home Parks are inspected once per licensing year. During a routine inspection of the park, inspectors look to see that general sanitary practices are being used at all times. Some of these practices consist of proper management of:
Effective beginning July 1, 2007 all new installations of manufactured homes must be inspected by the authority having jurisdiction. Manufactured homes must be installed by OMHC licensed installers with the only exception being that a homeowner may install a manufactured home without a license, only if the manufactured home will be used by the owner as the owner’s personal residency.
For additional questions or to contact the Ohio Manufactured Home Commission call (614) 734-8484. Ohio Department of Health can be reached at (614) 466-1390.
The purpose of the rules developed by the Ohio Department of Health with the assistance of the Swimming Pool Rule Review Committee, is to establish minimum standards in Ohio for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of these facilities in order to protect the public from injury, minimize the potential for disease transmission and provide a safe and healthy aquatic recreational environment. The Pools and Spas Program is a state mandated program which is enforced by the Portsmouth City Health Department for all public pools, spas and special use pools located inside the city limits. Pools and spas are inspected monthly during a licensing year that begins with the date of license issuance and ends the last day of May on the following year.
A public swimming pool is defined as any indoor or outdoor structure, chamber or tank containing a body of water for swimming, diving or bathing but does not include a private residential swimming pool.
Public swimming pools, spas and special use pools are regulated under the authority of Chapter 3749 of the Ohio Revised Code and the rules specified in Chapter 3701-31 of the Ohio Administrative Code.
During a routine inspection of a licensed public pool an inspector checks the following:
As of December 19, 2008 new legislature known as the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGB) was passed requiring that all swimming pools, spas and special use pools have anti-entrapment and anti-evisceration mechanisms in place. These mechanisms will be a special type of drain cover which will prevent a child from injury by way of drain suction. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal agency tasked with enforcing this legislation, and all public pools, spas and special use pools MUST comply with this federal legislation as a result. However, the Director of Health has granted a statewide variance to all pool operators and contractors from the requirements in OAC rules, which are less stringent than the federal legislation passed December 19, 2008.
For more information regarding the requirements of the VGB Act follow this link:
Additional inspections are performed as a result of public health-related complaints and all inspections are public record.
Any questions, concerns or complaints concerning any public pools, spas or special use pools, please contact the Environmental Health Division at (740)353-5153.
All pool or spa inspections are public record and a copy of the inspections may be obtained at the Environmental Health Division office located at 605 Washington Street.