Guideline for Confinement


One essential component of effective rabies control is the management of dogs and cats known to or suspected to have been exposed to rabid (or suspect rabid) animal, or to have bitten or exposed a person. Based upon the circumstances involved in the bite and the vaccination status of the animal involved, one of the following quarantine plans will be required at the discretion of the animal control officer involved. 



    1. Animal shall be kept on owner's premises.

    2. Owner shall be informed of potential rabies.

    3. Owner shall be required to notify enforcing agency of unusual behavior or change in health status of pet.


    1. Animal shall be kept on designated property - in the house, garage, or other escape-proof building or enclosure approved by the local director of health.

    2. Animal shall be leash-walked under immediate control of an adult on property designated for confinement.

    3. Owner shall be informed of potential rabies and given instructions in writing.

    4. Owner is required to notify immediately enforcing agency of unusual behavior or change in health status of pet.


    1. Animal shall be confined off owner's property in a designated facility, i.e., animal shelter, veterinary hospital or qualified commercial kennel.

    2. Strict quarantine on owner premises shall be possible at discretion of animal control.

    3. In case of death of quarantined animal, contact local animal control or health official. DO NOT DISPOSE OF ANIMAL

Facility used for quarantine shall:

  1. Ensure an escape-proof environment which prevents human and other animal contact.

  2. Be verifiable (i.e., subject to unannounced periodic spot checks by the animal control or local health department).

    1. Outside cage with double walls (must be sufficient housing to shelter animal from the weather).

    2. Indoor cage

      1. Since the walls of the main building serve as a second barrier, indoor may be single-walled.

      2. An example of a cat confinement pen is shown in Figure 1 although it is recommended that these dimensions be significantly enlarged to provide more comfort for the animal.

      3. Some sort of divider system as illustrated in Figure 2 (to exclude positively any human contact) is recommended in very high-risk cases (i.e., unvaccinated animal bitten by known or highly suspected rabies vector).

      4. Enclosing part of a basement, indoor porch, or recreation room which has windows available for health department officials to monitor confinement compliance is acceptable.

When the exposed animal is unvaccinated, euthanasia is recommended. Alternatively, the owner has the option of arranging for a 4-month strict confinement. Confinement must be strict because of the special public health risks associated with these animals (i.e., those potentially incubating rabies), and the need to prevent human and other animal exposures form occurring should rabies symptoms develop.