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Jul 24, 2014 1:45 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

Animal Control Encourages Public to Report Bites and Scratches

CORPUS CHRISTI - Reports of animal bites are on the rise in our city. Animal Control officials say it's important that all bites be reported so public health can be protected.

One local bite victim, James Schneider says, his close call should be a wake-up call for everyone.

"I was freaking out, like I'd never been bit by a dog before," Schneider said.

He says even though the scar from that stray dog bite is small, his concerns about contracting rabies were big.

"It was still growling and it started barking at that point but we were able to capture it and have it sent off to get tested for rabies. I was really concerned my brother said if it had rabies, you know that's very bad," Schneider said.

Very bad, indeed. Potentially deadly, in fact. That's why Heather Hedrick with Animal Control says it's crucial for the public to report every animal bite.

"It is 100 percent fatal and without that cure, you know we have to make sure that we protect the citizens. We have quarantine an animal that has scratched or bitten a person," she said.

State law requires people to call in the attack and so far this year more than 500 reports have come in. Those numbers resulted in the caging and monitoring of hundreds of animals.

"During that time we check the animal repeatedly throughout the day to make sure that it's not showing signs of rabies or illness," Hedrick said.

But an animal has to be caught before it can be quarantined. Hedrick says, now a new tool has been created for the public to report an attack.

"This is a very convenient on-the-go way to report a bite and it allows us to promptly address the issue," she added.

Which in-turn gives them a better chance of capturing the animal in question and confirming a case of rabies.

"Fortunately, there was no rabies, it did not have rabies, so because if it did they said I need to get vaccinated regardless so that's what I went and did," Schneider said.

The new online bite form allows animal control officers to respond immediately to incidents. Instead of waiting until the next business day to check messages left at the call center. Anyone who knows about a bite or scratch incident is encouraged to use the online bite form.

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