skip to content


Environmental Health

  •  941-861-6133



    Mailing Address

    Sarasota Office 

    1001 Sarasota Center Blvd 

    Sarasota FL 34240 

    Venice Office 

    4000 Tamiami Trl S Rm 121 

    Venice FL 34293 

    Phone 941-861-3310 

Rabies: serious but preventable

Rabies is a fatal disease that can be prevented but not cured. People bitten by rabid animals should seek immediate treatment to prevent contracting the disease. It is important not to handle wild animals, to be aware of animals exhibiting unusual behavior, and to vaccinate pets against rabies.

In Florida, raccoons, bats, foxes, and unvaccinated cats are the animals most frequently diagnosed with rabies. Other animals at high risk for rabies include skunks, otters, coyotes, bobcats, and stray or unvaccinated dogs and ferrets.

Rabies is spread through contact with the saliva and nervous tissue from a rabid animal through a bite, scratch, or contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.

More information from the Florida Department of Health:

How to Report an Animal Bite

All animal bites should be reported to:

Animal Services notifies DOH-Sarasota's Environmental Health staff, who assess bites for possible rabies exposures. DOH-Sarasota also reports bites to the Florida Department of Health if necessary.  Animals (including certain pets) may be quarantined and monitored for rabies.

Medical personnel should complete an Animal Bite Report (Rabies Exposure Report) and send it to Animal Services:

Rabies and Pets

Vaccinate them!

Florida statutes and Sarasota County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14 require all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. Animals involved in a bite or exposure are checked for current tags and vaccinations. DOH-Sarasota's Environmental Health Services works closely with Sarasota County Animal Services to ensure animals have current tags and vaccinations.