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Because of improved rabies vaccination programs for pets and better treatment for people who are bitten, rabies cases among humans in this country are rare. The best way to prevent the spread of rabies to humans is by keeping pets properly vaccinated.
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No, you are not required to acquire a license for cats, and cats are allowed to roam free without being tethered. However, they do need to be vaccinated for rabies.
Report loss pet to Animal Services at 757-890-3601. Search your immediate neighborhood. Call your local animal shelter to see if your pet was picked-up and to report the loss if your pet should happen to be brought in on a later date. You can call the Heritage Humane Society at 757-221-0150 (typically animals picked up in the Northern End of York County) and the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter at 757-933-8900 (typically animals picked up in the Southern End of York County).
Pets without identification can look alike so, visit the animal shelter and look at the animals not only in the impound area but, also the animals in the injured, sick, and quarantine areas. If you find your pet, please advise the local shelter and Animal Services, so the lost pet can be cleared off their list of lost animals.
Our Animal Control Officers do not respond to calls to remove crawling critters such as spiders, mice, lizards, or flying bugs like wasps, hornets, bees, or any other buzzing insects from your property. Please contact a local exterminating company for help with these animals. There are many wonderful and helpful options in our area.
Any dead animal that is found on private property becomes the responsibility of the property owner. Any dead animal that is found on a private road becomes the responsibility of the property owner or their Homeowners Association. If a dead animal is found to be on a roadway that is maintained by VDOT, it will be responsibility of VDOT to remove it. If a dead animal is found on a public roadway that is maintained by VDOT, contact the York County Emergency Communications Center at their non-emergency number (757) 890-3601.
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 an animal control or law enforcement officer to come and get it.
If it’s a wild animal that must be killed, don’t damage the head. The brain will be needed to test for rabies. Don’t let anyone destroy wild animals at random just because there may be a rabies outbreak in your area. Only a few wild animals will actually be carrying rabies.
It’s critically important that you notify your family doctor immediately after an animal bite. You may contact the Health Department or York County Animal Services to find out 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 Animal Control Services at 757-890-3601 and to the local health department as well. In Williamsburg, this number is 757-603-4277. The number for all other areas on the Virginia lower Peninsula is 757-594-7340.
Tell the person bitten to see a doctor immediately. Report the bite to Animal Services at 757-890-3601 and the local health department. In Williamsburg, 757-603-4277 and all other areas on the Virginia lower Peninsula, 757-594-7340.
If your pet is a dog or cat, they will have you confine the animal and watch it closely for 10 days. Report any illness or unusual behavior to your local health department and veterinarian immediately. Don’t let the animal stray, and don’t give the animal away. It must be available for observation by public health authorities.
Don’t kill your pet or allow it to be killed unless you have been instructed to do so by the public health authorities or a veterinarian. Check with your veterinarian to find out if your pet has a current vaccination. After the recommended observation period, have your pet vaccinated for rabies if it does not have a current rabies vaccination.
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 lives 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 mouth.
Only mammals get rabies: bird, fish, reptiles, and amphibians do not. Skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons, dogs, cats and some farm animals are most likely to get rabies. Rabbits, squirrels, rats and mice, and pets like gerbils and hamsters seldom get it.
Rabies can be prevented in cats, dogs, and some livestock with a rabies vaccination. For most wild and exotic animals, there are no rabies vaccines available that have been shown to protect them. A vaccine is available for ferrets, but because not enough is know about how rabies affects them, even vaccinated ferrets may still have to be killed and tested if they bite someone or get exposed to a rabid animal.
Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up to date. If your pet is attacked or bitten by another animal, report it to the local health and animal control authorities. Be sure your vaccinated dog or cat receives a booster vaccination. If the animal that bit your pet shows signs of rabies or tests positive for rabies and your pet does not have a current rabies vaccination, then your pet must be placed in quarantine for 6 months or euthanized at your expense.
Limit the possibility of exposure by keeping your animals on your property. Don’t let pets roam free. Also, don’t leave garbage or pet food outside. It may attract wild or stray animals. Remember, wild animals should not be kept as pets. They are a potential rabies threat to their owners and to others. Enjoy all wild animals from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame. If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to York County Animal Services by phone at 757-890-3601. Do not go near it yourself.
Source: Virginia Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), recently renamed as the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) is responsible for enforcing state laws relating to wildlife. The new name reflects the wide range of wildlife conservation responsibilities and opportunities the agency has, from hunting and fishing, to wildlife watching, public lands, boating, and outdoor recreation. If you have wildlife-related questions, contact VDWR at (804) 367-1000, and if you need to report a problem with wildlife on your property, please contact their Hotline at (855) 571-9003.
Animal Services will not trap nuisance wildlife that is on your property or that is simply passing through your yard. They will only respond to wildlife that is an immediate threat to personal safety, because it is in the main living space of your home. A nuisance animal is an animal that habitually destroys property. Some animals are exempt from being declared a nuisance, such as all birds of prey (ospreys, eagles, falcons, hawks, etc.), deer, and any animal or reptile protected by the state and/or federal government.
Should you have a reoccurring problem with nuisance wildlife, you may contact the Wildlife Conflict Hotline at 1-855-571-9003 in regards to deterring the species of animal that is concerning you. You may also want to check out the link below from VDWR (Va. Department of Wildlife Resources). It lists many different types of animals and suggests ways to try to keep those animals from continuing to visit your yard. You may also contact a local wildlife removal company to trap the species at a cost to you. A quick search on the internet will give you a list of companies to choose from.
It is important to note that Animal Services also does not collect newborn or orphaned wildlife. You may contact Tidewater Wildlife Rescue for emergencies at 757-255-8710 or the Wildlife Response Hotline at 757-543-7000.
According to the VDWR, more often than not, handling injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife can do more harm than good. Although our intentions are well-meaning, human interaction with wildlife should always be kept to a minimum. Humans often misinterpret normal wildlife behavior as abnormal and may unnecessarily disturb and stress wild animals by attempting to catch them.
Often, particularly in spring, concerned people pick up animals that they think are orphaned. More than 75 percent of such orphans “rescued” every spring should have been left alone. Most wild animals are dedicated parents and will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time while looking for food. Additionally, many behaviors that people may view as abnormal actually are not in wildlife, and people may do much more harm than good by attempting to catch them for rehabilitation.
Do not attempt to rescue skunks or bats. These are high-risk animals that are potentially harmful to your health. Never attempt to capture an adult sick or injured mammal. If they are frightened and/or in pain and see you as a threat, they can be quite dangerous and can cause a severe bite.
There is much more information on the VDWR website. If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, please locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources at their toll-free wildlife conflict hotline at 1-855-571-9003, 8:00 AM-4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, or visit the licensed wildlife rehabilitator section of their website.