Report Animal Bites to DHEC
South Carolina's rabies law* requires physicians, pet owners, bite victims (or their parents), and citizens aware of rabies exposures or symptoms in animals to call DHEC by the end of the following business day.
Our public health experts will talk to everyone involved and try to collect information on the health of the animal to make sure that public health is not threatened.
*Mandatory Reporting of Animal Bites – State Code of Laws Section 47-5-90.
South Carolina's rabies law* requires physicians to report all cases involving bites or other wounds inflicted by animals to the local public health department no later than the end of the following business day.
Reports must include the name, age, gender, weight, address, and telephone number of the person bitten.
Physicians are urged to report bites to DHEC as soon as possible upon treating a patient so that we can begin an investigation. Most animal exposures will not require postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). If we can rule out rabies by locating the animal's owner and the pet's health records, or if local animal control authorities can trap the animal for quarantine or testing, it may save your patient from having to undergo rabies treatment unnecessarily.
Dog-Bite Victims and Parents of Dog Bite Victims
If you or your child was bitten by a pet, a stray, someone else's pet, or a wild animal, and you have decided not to seek medical treatment for the injury, you must nonetheless report the animal bite to your local DHEC Public Health Department by the end of the following working day.
If you are seeking medical treatment, your healthcare provider is legally required to report the animal bite to DHEC.
Animal Owners and Anyone Aware of Rabies Threat
You must notify your local DHEC Public Health Department by the end of the next working day if you become aware that an animal you own – or someone else's pet, farm animal, exotic animal or a stray:
- Has symptoms of rabies
- Is suspected of having rabies, or
- Has been attacked or bitten by a domesticated or wild animal affected by or suspected of carrying rabies.
If the animal you are reporting is not your pet, please provide the animal's home address (if known) and/or tell us where the animal was last seen.
For additional information, contact: (803) 896-0655 Fax (803) 896-0645