Skip to content
Rabies in S.C.

Stray Dogs and Wild Animals – What to Do

It's hard to tell if a wild or stray animal has rabies or some other type of illness such as distemper or lead poisoning. If you see a wild or stray animal behaving aggressively or abnormally, always play it safe. Do not touch or approach the animal and keep your pets and children safely away from it.

Call Local Animal Control Officer or Police for Help

If a stray dog or wild animal poses an immediate danger, call your county or city animal control officer.

If your county or city does not have an animal control officer, call your local police department or sheriff's office to see if they have the staff and equipment to respond.

Typically, animal control officers will set a trap for the animal.

DHEC is not authorized to retrieve or trap animals. Our job is to investigate animal bites and other incidents that may have exposed someone to rabies.

For Sick Wild Animal, Seek Wildlife Rehabilitator's Advice

Compassionate people often take in or try to get help for orphaned, wounded and sick wild animals. But impulsively approaching or handling a wild animal is risky:

  • You could be exposed to rabies or other diseases and parasites.
  • If the animal is in pain, it could attack you.
  • You could face fines or other penalties should you accidentally break a state or federal wildlife law.

We urge you to never approach or handle an orphaned, injured or sick raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, mink, weasel, otter, opossum, or any other meat-eating wild animal.

Instead, for help with any orphaned, sick or wild animal, seek advice and help from a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation organization. Find one in your area – use the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Rehabilitator Registry.

Finally, don't leave garbage or pet food outside – it can attract wild and stray animals. If you must leave garbage outside, place it in a sturdy can with a tight-fitting lid.

Find a bat indoors?


For additional information, contact: (803) 896-0655 Fax (803) 896-0645