Animal Bites

To report an emergency bite, call the Police Department at 781-862-1212.

Importance of Reporting Animal Bites

Massachusetts Health Laws require that all animal bites, especially dog bites, be reported.

The animal must be quarantined for a ten-day period, regardless of its current rabies vaccination status, to ensure that it does not have rabies.

The owner / keeper will be able to quarantine the animal at home during this period or in an approved boarding facility at the owner / keeper's expense.

Do not hesitate to make a report because the animal is yours or a friend's or relative's. Pets, including dogs, will not be taken away from their owners because of such a report, under normal circumstances.

Preventing Animal Bites

Every year in the U.S., animals bite more than a million people, most of them children, seriously injure thousands of people, and kill about 100 people.

You can prevent many bites by knowing how to recognize the warning signs of an animal that is likely to bite. Avoid situations that provoke bites and defend yourself if you are attacked.

The warning signs of a dog likely to attack will be an aggressive posture with its hackles up, growling or barking, ears erect, body stiff or tense, stiff-legged stance with tail held high and possibly moving rapidly. The dog may also attack if afraid and will assume a fearful posture with ears back, body crouched, head held low, and tail tucked between its legs. Most animal "warning signs" are similar to the dog's.

  • Never touch or approach an animal you don't know to be friendly.
  • Never threaten or tease any animal. Even a small dog or cat can inflict a painful bite.
  • If bitten or scratched, wash the wound thoroughly. Use soap and warm water and apply a sterile dressing. Seek immediate medical help. Ask the physician about a tetanus booster and / or rabies vaccination. Remember as many details as possible. Write down a description of the animal, time and location of the incident, and try to remember where the dog went.