Animal Bites & Rabies Information

To report an animal bite, make a complaint, or to speak with an Animal Control officer, please call 757-727-6111.

To Prevent Animal Bites

  • Don't approach wildlife.
  • Refrain from feeding wildlife.
  • Don't approach stray dogs or cats, particularly if you do not know them.
  • If you do approach a stray dog or cat, read the signals that they give you. Often a dog or cat will use their body or make sounds that will let you know if they are aggressive or scared. These signs may include hissing, growling, raised hair, and tail between legs.
  • Never run right up to a stray animal, let them approach you and sniff you first. This will put them more at ease.
  • Share this information with children.

If an Animal Bites You

Don't panic...but don't ignore the bite either. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water. Washing thoroughly will greatly lessen the chance of infection. Give first aid as you would for any wound. If possible, capture the animal under a large box or can, or at least identify it before it runs away. Don't try to pick the animal up. Call Hampton Animal Control at 757-727-8311 to report the incident and to remove the animal.

It's critically important that you notify your family doctor immediately and explain how you got the bite. Your doctor will want to know if the animal has been captured. If necessary, your doctor will give the anti-rabies treatment recommended by the United States Public Health Service. Your doctor will also treat you for other possible infections that could be caused from the bite.

Report the bite to the local Hampton Health Department at 757-727-1172.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It kills almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mainly in the saliva and brain of rabid animals. It can be transmitted through a bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound or in the eye or mouth. The amount of body fluid contact or size of the wound does not matter! Rabies is 100% fatal so it is imperative that you don't wait to see if you feel ill once you have been exposed. Once symptoms appear, it is too late.

Dealing with the Animal

According to the Virginia Department of Health, if the exposing animal is a dog or cat it will be confined for a 10 day observation period called quarantine. If it does not survive the quarantine, it will be tested for rabies. If the exposing animal is a wild animal, it will automatically be tested for rabies. If the animal is not found, or tests positive for rabies, the victim of the exposure will be advised to receive post exposure rabies prophylaxis treatment. This consists of one or more injections, depending on the weight of the person, of Rabies Immune Globulin, given in the buttocks, and possibly some into the wound site, if there is a wound. This is followed by five injections into the arm of Rabies Immune Vaccine, given over a 28 day period. Rabies vaccinations are not given into the stomach.