Isolation and Observation Periods:
Dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite or otherwise potentially expose a person to rabies can be confined for observation for 10-days. Horses can be confined for a 14-day observation period.
This does not apply to domestic animals which bite other domestic animals.
Dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle, and sheep may be confined and observed when they are bitten or otherwise potentially exposed to rabies by other animals. The quarantine period is 45-days for vaccinated dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle and sheep and also for previously vaccinated dogs and cats that receive a booster vaccination after exposure. The quarantine period is 4-months for unvaccinated dogs and cats, and six months for ferrets, horses, cattle and sheep.
Humans that are exposed to a wild animal should seek medical attention immediately and the incident must be reported to Animal Control and/or the Florida Department of Health - Charlotte County for information on possibly receiving post-exposure treatment, containment of the animal and to determine if rabies testing is needed.
All quarantines are strictly enforced. Animal Control may perform periodically home quarantine checks to ensure the animal is properly confined and appears to still be in good health. Home quarantines are not an owner's right, but are evaluated based on the circumstances, vaccination status, or prior incidents involving the bite animal. If a quarantine is needed at an alternate location other than the owner's home, the owner is responsible for any and all associated costs.
Important Information Regarding Rabies & Animal Bites
- The Rabies Virus - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Rabies Prevention - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Rabies Prevention Program - Florida Department of Health
- Rabies Surveillance Data - Florida Department of Health
- Quarantine of animals
To report an animal bite or exposure by fax, fill out the Animal Bite Report form and fax 941.833.5691
Dog Bite Prevention Tips
- Pet Sterilization - Animals that are not spayed or neutered, particularly male dogs, may be at increased risk of biting people
- Do not leave your dog on a chain for long periods of time. Chained dogs are more likely to bite
- Don't put your dog in situations where it may feel threatened or teased
- Follow leash laws and don't let your dog roam freely off of your property
- Make sure your dog is vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian
- Socialize your dog so it feels at ease around people and other animals