cell: (641) 757-0815
cell: (641) 757-0468
Ph: (641) 747-8320
Fax: (641) 747-8916
Guthrie County Courthouse
200 North 5th Street
Guthrie Center, IA 50115
Hrs: 8:00 - 4:30 (M-F)
Main > Environmental Health >
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 Stephen Patterson at (641)
747-8320 to report health-related situations.