Animal Bites & Dangerous Dogs

Animal Bites

North Carolina state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets who have bitten someone are to be quarantined for ten days. If the animal has a current rabies vaccination, this quarantine may take place at home at the discretion of Animal Services. If the animal is not currently vaccinated against rabies, then this quarantine must be done at a veterinary hospital or the Animal Shelter. The purpose of this is to ensure that the animal did not transmit the rabies virus to the bite victim.

If a person is bit and chooses to go to the hospital, ER, family doctor, or urgent care the doctor is required by law to send in a bite report to Animal Services where an officer will be dispatched to investigate.

If a wild animal bites or scratches a person and is apprehended, the animal will be euthanized so that its brain may be tested for the presence of the rabies virus. If the wild animal is positive or it cannot be caught, the bite victim will be advised to take the post-exposure rabies shots.

If a wild animal bites a dog (or any domestic animal), the course of action depends on the vaccination status of the dog. If the dog has a current rabies shot, the pet only needs to receive a booster vaccination. The wild animal will not be tested for rabies unless there is also a human exposure. If the dog is not currently vaccinated and the wild animal is apprehended, it will be quarantined at the Animal Shelter until the rabies test results on the wild animal come back. If the rabies test is negative, the dog may be reclaimed. If the rabies test is positive or the wild animal was not caught, the dog must be euthanized or quarantined for six months at the owner's expense. This is just one reason why rabies vaccinations for your pet are so important.

For Bite Prevention Classes visit the Humane Education page.

Dangerous Dogs

Citizens owning dogs determined to be dangerous will be subject to a variety of protective measures to ensure the safety of people and other animals. They include the following:

  • Privacy fencing or secure fencing (with a top)

  • Purchase of liability insurance

  • Warning signs on the owner's property

  • Muzzling the dog when off its property

  • Tattooing the dog to identify it as dangerous

All decisions relative to dangerous dogs will be subject to a due process review. 

If you have any questions about a possible dangerous dog situation, please call 311 or 704-336-7600.