Animal Bites & Rabies

Catawba County Animal Services investigates all reports of animal bites, which may include an evaluation of the potential risk of rabies transmission.

If an animal bites you, seek medical attention immediately. State and local law requires all animal bites to be reported. To report a bite, call Catawba County Animal Services at (828) 465-8228.

Rabies is a fatal disease that is spread when an infected animal’s saliva or nervous system tissue comes in contact with a break in the skin. Rabies can be spread from animal to animal and also to people. An example of this would be through a bite from an infected animal.

To protect pets and the people they interact with, all dogs and cats more than four months of age are required by law to have a current rabies vaccination. After vaccination, a metal tag is given to the owner to place on the collar of the pet. The owner will also receive a certificate of vaccination verifying that the animal has been vaccinated, and a copy will be kept on file with Catawba County Emergency Services and the participating veterinarian.

It is illegal for an owner to fail to have his or her animal(s) vaccinated against rabies as required by state law, and they must obtain the metal tag issued upon such vaccination. It is also illegal for an owner to fail to provide his or her animal(s) with a collar to which a valid rabies tag must be attached. Additionally, it is unlawful for an owner to place on their animal a metal rabies tag not issued to that animal.

Rabies Ordinances, Policies & Resources