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Veterinary Public Health


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Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
vet@ph.lacounty.gov
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Reporting Animal Bites

Veterinarians: To report an animal that you suspect to be rabid, click here.

What bites to report? All animal bites to people are legally reportable in Los Angeles County except for rodent and rabbit bites.  Wild mammal (excluding rodent and rabbit) bites to domestic animals are also reportable.  Note that bat bites can be too small to detect.   All bat-human or bat-domestic animal interactions should be reported. 

How Do I Report Bites?  To report bites in any part of Los Angeles County other than in the cities of Long Beach, Pasadena, or Vernon, contact Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control:

Scroll further down to read more about bite reporting.

  • Report by fax. For Animal Control Agencies, Physicians, and Veterinarians. Download the appropriate form and fax in to the number on the form. Click here for forms.
     
  • Online Reporting Portal. These portals are only for human medical facilities and the public, since they gather limited information about the biting animal. Veterinarians and shelters should use the pdf reporting forms.

    In the link to the portal below, you will be prompted by your computer to accept a security alert. Click Yes to proceed. This process may take several minutes.
    This is a secure website.
    Animal Bite Reporting Portal (public/medical submission)
     
  • To report bites in Pasadena, call the Pasadena Humane Society at: 626-792-7151.
    To report bites in Long Beach, call Long Beach Animal Control at: 562-570-7387.
    To report bites in Vernon, call the city Vernon and ask to speak to the Health Department: 323-583-8811

If you have any questions, please call us at  
(213) 989-7060   or   (877) 747-2243 (in LA County)

Who has to report? All people with knowledge of the bite.  Locally most reports come from animal control agencies, physicians, and veterinarians, but anyone may report a bite.

Other than it being legally required, why report?  The two primary reasons for reporting animal bites are:

  1. Rabies Control. Reporting allows the local public health authority to investigate whether the biting animal may have transmitted rabies to the bite victim.  Although rabies is currently not very common in Los Angeles County, rabies is endemic in our local bats and can be transmitted to other mammals and to people.  Animals are constantly being brought into Los Angeles County from other counties, states and countries where the risk of rabies is higher than it is here.  The risk of rabies in local animals can increase or decrease over time.
  2. Animal Bite Data. Reporting allows local public health authority to track data and trends in animal bites to people within the local community.

What Happens When I Report A Bite?   When reporting a bite, be prepared to give details about the date of the bite, the victim, and on the biting animal (such as location, species, breed, and circumstance of bite). These details are very important in investigating risk of rabies transmission.

If the animal is located, it is evaluated for rabies either by a quarantine and observation period, or by testing its body after death.  Most reported bites are inflicted by dogs and cats. Quarantine periods for dogs and cats are a minimum of 10 days.   Biting livestock are quarantined for 30 days.  Biting wild animals of high-rabies-risk species (bat, skunk, fox, raccoon, coyote) are only tested, not quarantined.  Wildlife of low risk for rabies are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Animals that have been impounded by an animal control agency must complete their quarantine period in a shelter.  Many owned biting animals complete their quarantine in their own home, if they can be kept securely on site.  Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control is not an animal control agency and does not impound animals.  However, this program may work in conjunction with animal control agencies when needed.

A report of a bite from an animal does not mean that the animal is deemed dangerous.  Animals may bite while playful, or the bite may be entirely provoked. Residents that believe an animal to be dangerous need to file a separate report with their local animal control agency.

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