Reporting an Animal Bite
Both Arizona Revised Statues (A.R.S. 11-1014) and City Ordinance (130-099) require anyone with direct knowledge of an animal biting a human to report the bite immediately to an Animal Enforcement Agent.
In accordance with Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S. §11-1014), an unvaccinated animal that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound or, on the request of, and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than ten days. The quarantine period shall start on the day of the bite incident. If the day of the bite is not known, the quarantine period shall start on the first day of impoundment. At the end of ten days, the owner can take the animal home after paying the quarantine impound fees.
ARS §11-1014 makes exceptions. If your animal is properly vaccinated, the animal can be, in certain cases, quarantined at home, after signing and adhering to the requirements of the home quarantine agreement. At the end of the quarantine period, the animal must be inspected in order to be released from quarantine.
To report an animal bite, contact the City of Yuma Animal Control Services Unit at (928) 373-4795 Option 2.
Avoiding or Preventing an Animal Bite
Animal bites are common injuries and dogs are responsible for approximately 80% of the bites treated in the emergency room. Dogs are very territorial and your dog may consider visitors to be infringing on its territory. Keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room or on a leash. A dog's natural instinct is to protect its family, especially the children. If you have visitors in your house, their actions towards your children could be considered threatening to your dog. Make sure the dog becomes comfortable with your house guest first. Spay or neuter your dog. A spayed or neutered dog is less likely to bite someone. Obedience training can teach your dog proper behavior and help you control your dog in many situations.
The City of Yuma offers several other tips for avoiding animal bites. These tips include:
- Avoid unfamiliar animals and realize that any animal may bite when they are frightened, ill or injured
- If a dog appears to be attacking, don't run or yell. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch its prey
- Stand still and cross your hands in front of your chest. Then walk away slowly backwards
- Don't stare right at a dog that comes up to you. Watch him out of the corner of your eye
- Don't try to pet a dog through a fence, car window or cage
- Always let a dog see and sniff you before you pet the animal
From time to time, wild animals such as coyotes or skunks may wander into residential areas. The animals may be dangerous and could cause some destruction and injury, especially if they are rabid.
The most effective protection from wild animals is barriers and discouragement:
- Remove the elements that attracts them to your property
- Feed pets indoors if possible and take up outdoor dishes and leftovers as soon as possible
- Keep trash cans in the garage or utility room until trash pickup day
- Fence your garden
- Vaccinate your pets
For other tips, or for assistance with removing a wild animal from your property, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (928) 342-0091
What About Rabies?
Rabies is a potentially fatal disease caused by a virus carried by animals infected with the disease. The most common carriers of rabies are wild animals such as squirrels, raccoons, coyotes and especially bats and skunks. These animals can infect a household pet which could then pass it on to people or other animals. Care should be taken to avoid situations that place your pet in contact with wild animals.
All dogs and cats over 3 months of age are required to be vaccinated against rabies. There are still animals, of course, that have not been vaccinated, so adults should caution children to use care when around strange animals.
The Humane Society of Yuma offers clinics to vaccinate pets. For more information on pet vaccinations, contact the Humane Society of Yuma at (928) 782-1621 or your local veterinarian.