The Code of Iowa requires that animal bites be investigated by the Environmental Health Dept. Chapter 351 of the Iowa Code discusses this mainly in reference to dogs but includes any other animal. The law requires that any owner of a dog, cat, or other animal that has bitten another person contact this office. Our policy is that physicians, hospitals, etc. also should report such incidents to this office. Obviously, anyone bitten may also report the incident to this office.
The main concern with such bites is rabies. Rabies is a 100% fatal disease (yes, there now has been ONE survivor but that person went through an awful ordeal and recovery took several years of therapy). Rabies is a virus transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal through bites, sometimes scratches, and also from saliva coming into contact with the mucus membranes of a person through handling of the animal. It attacks the nervous system and eventually attacks the brain.
Iowa law requires that all dogs, except kennel breeders, etc., must be vaccinated. Cat owners should also vaccinate their pets as a precaution even though the law does not require it. There is little enforcement possible of these vaccination requirements in Guthrie County but unvaccinated pets are treated much more stringently than vaccinated ones, if a bite occurs.
The Guthrie County Board of Health has adopted a bite procedures policy. Also, a reporting form has been developed that is used by the department. Both of these documents are reproduced below and have links to each at the beginning of the document. Do NOT submit the reporting form. It is shown so that you would know what information this office will be collecting from a caller. It is important that this information be collected the day of, or for sure the next day after, a bite.
The Environmental Health Departments is charged with enforcing the county nuisance codes. Call (641) 747-3972 to report health-related situations.