On average, about 200 reported animal bites are investigated by the Environmental Health Section in Columbia County each year. Working in close cooperation with the Lake City Animal Shelter, biting animals are located and quarantined if necessary.
Animal bites are investigated to prevent the spread of rabies in the pet population and to humans. While rare, this disease is of great public health concern since it is almost always fatal. Rabies vaccinations of pet animals by a licensed veterinarian are extremely important, and required by law in the State of Florida.
All animal bites, regardless of severity, must be reported to the local health department. The information collected in these reports helps to determine whether human anti-rabies vaccine is called for as a precaution to prevent infection by the rabies virus.
If conditions warrant it, biting animals are tested for the rabies virus by one of the Department of Health's regional laboratories.
To report an animal bite or for further information about quarantine procedures and rabies testing, please call Nancy Crews at (386) 758-1058.
The Lake City Animal Shelter can be contacted at (386) 752-4702.