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Quarantine Requirements

Does California law mandate quarantine after a dog has been someone?

According to California dog bite legislation, dog are mandated a quarantine period of a minimum of 10 days after attacking and biting a human. It is legally required to report this incident to local public health authorities, which in turn precipitates the quarantine period and process. This required quarantine period ensures that the attacking dog is not infected with rabies.

When an animal does not appear to be superficially rabid, it can be held for quarantine in the dog owner’s home. However, the dog is known to be high risk for rabies infection, it is required to quarantine the dog at a shelter. The quarantine period takes place over the course of ten days and concludes with the release of the animal, if it does not have rabies, or euthanasia if the animal is found to have clinical signs of rabies infection.

If an owner fails to comply the mandated quarantine period, the dog owner may face criminal charges. If the quarantine takes place in the dog owner’s home, public health or animal control officers are allowed to move the dog to an alternate location.

Finally, if a dog is identified as rabid, it will be put down or euthanized. Rabidity increases the legal damages that are suffered by the victim of a dog bite. In cases where the dog owner lacks insurance coverage, this may prevent the dog bite victim from a making a full financial reclamation.

This article will cover various aspects of the quarantine period resulting from a dog bite in California:

1. In what cases is it required to report a dog bite incident in California?

Under California dog bite legislation, the quarantine period is initiated with a lawful report. This report is mandated and created immediately after the attacks a human being. It is lawfully required to report these dog bites to local, public health authorities because of the risk of rabies infection. It is required to report all dog attacks regardless of if the dog was attacking a trespasses and defending its owner and the owner’s property.

In model, California legislation only mandates that dog bites are reported in counties that are known to be rabies dominant. Extern to rabies areas, the only animals that are suspected of possible rabies infections are reported to local health officials.

The State Department Director of Health Services is able to designate rabies areas. Since 1987, the Director has declared that all 58 of California’s counties are at risk of rabies infection.

Subsequently, any time a dog attacks or bites a person, it is mandated by California law to create a report to local health officials. This in turn precipitates the quarantine process.

Health officials in the following counties are notified:

  • Sacramento County
  • San Diego County
  • Orange County
  • Los Angeles County
  • San Francisco County
  • Santa Barbara County

There is no quarantine mandate, however, if a dog bites another dog.

2. How is a dog bite incident investigated?

The animal control officer is responsible for the verification of the circumstances of the dog bite as well as the risk assessment of rabies infection. The officer should conduct an investigation within 24 hours of receiving the incident report, and they should do so by the interviewing the victim, as well as conducting a through investigation of the dog.

The interview with the dog bite victim is conduct in order to assess the severity of the dog bite injury. The animal control officer can facilitate the victim’s medical care, while also obtaining vital personal details, and the victim’s narrative of events.

The officer’s investigation of the dog will collect the following dog bite incident details:

  • The dog’s breed,
  • Past bites or signs of violence, or aggression
  • Contact information for the dog’s owner,
  • Information about the individual holding the dog in quarantine
  • Rabies vaccination health history,
  • Information concerning the dog’s license,
  • The dog owner’s narrative of events concerning the incident, and
  • State of the dog owner’s home, particularly methods incorporated by the owner to keep the dog under control.

The above details characterizer the officer’s rabies risk assessment, and is eligible to be subpoenaed for use as evidence in future legal proceedings.

3. What does the quarantine process entail in California?

If a dog attacks and bites an individual, it will be mandated to undergo quarantine in order to clear it of rabies infection. This quarantine period can take a total duration of up to 10 days. The location of the dog’s quarantine is dependent on its risk of rabies infection.

3.1 What rabies risk factors contribute to a dog’s mandated quarantine period?

The following elements inform the animal control officer’s analysis and assessment of the dog’s risk of carrying rabies infection:

  • Whether the dog bite victim engaged in behavior that provoked the dog
  • The age and maturity of the dog; younger dogs are considered much more like to carry rabies infection
  • The excessively violent or abnormally aggressive behavior of the dog
  • The severity of, location, and number of bites suffered by the dog bite victim
  • The nature of how the dog bite victim’s wounds were medically treated
  • Whether the attacking dog is up to date on rabies vaccinations
  • If the rabies infection is was identified in local areas in recent weeks, carried by raccoons

3.2 Will the dog be subject to the quarantine mandate at the owner’s home or in a shelter?

The animal control officer researves the right to mandate the quarantine period of the dog at the owner’s home or external to the dog owner’s property.

Dog assessed as high risk for rabies infection are quarantined external to the dog owner’s property including at the following set of locations:

  • The veterinarian’s office,
  • A pound or animal shelter
  • A kennel contracted through local animal control officials

The staff members at such locations are trained to observe for progressive clinical signs of rabies infection. Furthermore, dogs housed for quarantine at these locations are isolated from the other animals.

  • An animal shelter or impound, or
  • A kennel under contract with the animal control office.

Staff members at these locations are trained to monitor dogs for signs of rabies. The dogs are housed individually, where they can have no contact with other animals.

Dogs that deemed a low risk for rabies are able to quarantine at the owner’s home. However, these dogs must be kept out of contact with other people or animals, while

  1. indoors or
  2. placed in a securely fenced-in yard.

In this at home scenario, only one person is granted access to care for the dog. To verify this, the local animal control authority is permitted to make unannounced inspections to ensure that the dog owner is keeping the dog under the terms of the mandated quarantine. If the dog owner fails to comply with these terms, the animal control authority is permitted to take the dog to quarantine it elsewhere.

Quarantines that take place external to the dog owner’s home enable easy monitoring of the dog. Evidence that indicates the dog is:

  • is current on its rabies vaccines and
  • does not have a history of violent behavior can result in a home quarantine.

Where the dog is quarantined is at the authority and discretion of the animal control officer. The owner of the pet is not entitled to decide where it is quarantined.

3.3 What concludes a mandated quarantine period?

According to California quarantine law, a dog that has bite someone can be locked down for a period of up to 10 days. The animal control officer oversees the termination of the quarantine period.

If the dog is shown to have clinical signs of rabies infection, according to positive diagnosis and confirmation from a veterinary, it will be put down or euthanized.

If the dog does not indicate clinical signs of rabies infection, it will be released back to the owner after the 10 day quarantine period. If the dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, it will vaccinated at that time, and the victim will be notified that the dog does not have rabies infection.

4. Why does the state of California have a quarantine period mandated after a dog bite event?

In California, the quarantine mandate is in place due to the prevention of the spread of rabies. Quarantining a potentially rabid dog is done in the interest of public health to lower the risk of potentially spreading a deadly disease. Rabies infection typically results in the blurring of a dog’s vision. A dog who’s vision is unaffected, and does not demonstrate other clinical symptoms of rabidity, is released from quarantine after the 10 day mandate, as it is deemed free of rabies infection.

5. What is the outcome if an owner refuses to comply with the quarantine mandate?

Dogs that are quarantine in the home are prohibited from having contact with other animals or humans. The terms of the home quarantine period is very strict, and failure to adhere to those legal stipulation may prompt an animal control officer to seize the dog and quarantine it elsewhere.

Hiding a dog that has been mandated a quarantine period as a result of biting someone is considered a misdemeanor crime. Violating the conditions of the dog’s quarantine may result in the following legal consequences:

  • Anywhere between $100 and $1,000 in fines.
  • A potential of up to 1 year of a jail sentence
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