Animal Bites and Confinement
Marion County Environmental Health follows up on reported animal bites that occur within Marion County. The main concern is the risk of rabies. All mammals can get rabies but bats are the main carrier of rabies in Oregon.
Rabies virus does not penetrate intact skin or clothing. Thus, unless there is a history of a bite that broke the skin, or saliva contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (including the eyes), there was no exposure. Those who merely pet a dog or pick up a bat later found to be rabid, for example, have not had a significant exposure. If there was no exposure, then there is no risk.
When a domestic pet (dog, cat,or ferret) bites a human, that animal must be placed in confinement for a period of ten (10) days following the bite.
If the animal has valid rabies shots, the owner can release the animal from confinement 10 days from the date of the bite, if the animal is healthy.
An animal without valid rabies shots must be confined and can only be released by a Registered Environmental Health Specialist or a Licensed Veterinarian.
“Confinement” means the animal is confined and held for observation without access to the outdoors. When necessary, dogs may be taken outside, but must be on a leash at all times. Human contact with the animal should be limited to one person daily. The animal may not have contact with other animals or people.
If an animal in confinement becomes ill or the owner notices unusual behavior in the animal, this should be reported immediately to
Marion County Environmental Health at 503-588-5346.
Dogs that have caused severe bites may require confinement at Marion County Dog Services. If you have questions about enforcement of Marion County Dog Control Rules (Chapter 6.05), please call Marion County Dog Services at 503-588-5233.
If a wild animal (squirrels, rats, bats, etc.) causes a bite, follow-up cannot be done unless the animal can be captured, killed and tested. The bite victim should cleanse the wound well and get medical treatment, if needed.
While almost all mammals can be experimentally infected with the rabies virus, in real life many species are essentially rabies-free, due to both behavioral and dietary characteristics as well as innate resistance to the virus. Lagomorphs (e.g., rabbits, hares), small rodents (e.g., mice, rats, squirrels, gerbils, hamsters), and cervids (e.g., deer, elk) all fall into this category. Absent extraordinary circumstances (genuinely "unprovoked" bites), bites by these animals do not merit follow-up for rabies.
Animal Bite Reporting Forms
Preventing Dog Bites - CDC
Bats and Rabies (CDC)
Rabies Information (CDC)
Rabies Information (OHA)
Dog Control Services
Willamette Humane Society