Rabies and Animal Quarantine Laws In Texas Explained by a Fort Worth Dog Bite Lawyer

Whenever a person is bitten, mauled or otherwise attacked by a dog or other mammal, there is a risk of rabies. Rabies is one of the most serious diseases that you can contract. 

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that's transmitted by the saliva of a rabid animal when they bite a person. It can also be spread when a rabid animal scratches a person, or when their saliva comes into contact with any existing open wounds. Early symptoms of rabies may include a flu-like fever, weakness and headaches. Rabies is an extremely serious condition with a high fatality rate.

What To Do If You're Bit by an Unfamiliar Dog

As a Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury attorney I know that, although dog bite cases involving rabies are rare, unprovoked attacks by dogs carry a much higher risk or rabies than a provoked attack (since dogs with rabies tend to be more aggressive and will bite without reason).

Regardless of the circumstances of your dog bite, it is always wise to take the following precautions:

  • Identify the animal so that they can be tested for rabies. If you know the owner, this step will be fairly straightforward. If the dog is roaming lose, then things get a little trickier. Contact animal control right away if you can so that they can catch the dog. If you're unable to catch or identify the dog, move on to the next steps with extra caution. 
  • Immediately clean your wound thoroughly with hot water, soap, and antiseptic.
  • Seek professional medical attention for your injuries – no matter how minor they appear – as soon as possible following the attack. Most doctors will also recommend a tetanus shot if you have not had one within the past ten years, as this will help protect you against other potential infections.

The Law Regarding Rabies Vaccinations in Texas

The Texas Health and Safety Code §826 mandates that all dogs, cats and ferrets must receive a rabies vaccination within four months of being born. After that, their ongoing rabies vaccination schedule is generally determined by the veterinarian who administered their initial vaccination.

Within the City of Fort Worth, local ordinances dictate that the animal must receive a booster 12 months after their initial vaccination, and then additional vaccinations at least once every three years. Specific laws and local ordinances will vary by location.

Quarantine of Animals That Attack Humans

Any domesticated animal that's bitten a person is required by Texas law to be placed under quarantine (overseen by the Local Rabies Control Authority). All dog bites – no matter how insignificant – must be reported in Texas.

Quarantine involves isolating the offending animal in absolute security for a ten day observation period to determine whether they pose a rabies risk. The cost of quarantine must be paid by the animal owner.

Your Rights as a Dog Bite Victim in Texas

Visit this page to learn more about your rights as a dog bite victim in Texas, the compensation you're entitled to and how our dog bite injury lawyers can help. 

(Want more information? Download my free book "How to Make a Successful Dog Bite Injury Claim In Texas" here.) 

To speak to a Fort Worth dog bite lawyer right away, contact 817-294-1900.