Georgia Law requires yearly rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats.

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Animal Bites

Prevent Bites from Dogs and Cats

  • Never approach a wild or stray animal.
  • Always ask the owner if it is ok to pet their dog before you try to pet the dog.
  • Never look eye to eye with a dog that is approaching you; LOOK AWAY!
  • If a dog is running up to you, stand very still like a tree. Do not wave your arms.
  • If a dog jumps at you and knocks you down, act like you are a log. Cover your head with your hands and stay very still.
  • Children: always tell an adult if you have been bitten.

Have You been Bitten?

An animal bite is often a frightening event. Knowing what to do after the bite is very important.

  1. Wash the wound with soap and water.
  2. See your doctor for medical care.
  3. Report the bite to the Health Department: 356-2160.
  4. Ask the owner for PROOF of rabies vaccination. DO NOT just take their word.
  5. Report the bite to the local Police Department. A report is necessary.

If the bite requires hospital Emergency Room treatment, of course you will need to seek prompt medical attention. A police officer at the hospital will make a report and can call Animal Control to respond.

Has Your Pet Bitten Someone?

Confine the pet for ten days to observe for any signs of rabies. This must be done if the pet is vaccinated or not vaccinated. Vaccinated pets can be confined at home; unvaccinated pets MUST be held at a veterinarian's office or at the Chatham County Animal Control shelter. The confinement must be for ten full days after the bite, and it is at the owners expense. If the dog or cat is healthy at the end of the observation period, then they could not have transmitted the rabies virus during the bite. After the ten day confinement, the dog or cat can get a rabies vaccination.

Proper vaccination for rabies can not only save your pet from a case of rabies if it is bitten by a wild or rabid animal, but it can also prevent unnecessary expense when your pet bites someone else.

Information provided by:
Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health Division (356-2160)
Chatham County Animal Control