Charles County

Animal Health & Safety

Rabies is a disease of animals and people, and the virus is spread through the saliva of a rabid animal. Usually this occurs when a rabid animal bites or scratches a person or animal, but secondary exposure can occur from contacting saliva off of the coat or fur of an animal that was exposed to a rabid animal. The virus may get into the body through open cuts or wounds, or through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Domesticated animals like dogs, cats, and ferrets can get rabies from wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, opossums, and the like. Getting your pets vaccinated against rabies will prevent this from happening. A current rabies vaccination for your pet is vital in light of the current evidence of rabies in the area. Your local veterinarian is the most immediate solution for non-vaccinated animals.


Do you know what to do if you are bitten by or exposed to an animal that may be rabid? You should:
o Contact Charles County Animal Control and the Department of Health.
o If it is a wild animal, try to trap the animal only if it is safe to do so. If the animal must be killed, try not to damage the head.
o If it is an owned animal, get the animal owner’s name, address, and telephone number.
o Get prompt medical attention.
o Consider treatment if a bat was present and exposure cannot be reasonably ruled out
(i.e. you were sleeping or an unattended child is in the room).


Animals can be great fun, but it’s important to know how to be safe when you’re with them. With a wild animal, being safe may mean staying far away so the animal doesn’t feel threatened and so you stay safe. The rule in the great outdoors is simple: Don’t touch or go near an animal. See further tips below to stay safe.

Humane Society of Charles County Clinic
Location: Humane Society of Charles County,
71 Industrial Park Drive, Waldorf.
Rabies vaccine $12.00 1 year or 3 year*
Distemper vaccine $15.00
Micro-chipping $30.00

Charles County requires a license for all cats and dogs.

**For a 3 year vaccine –You must bring a current rabies certificate!
Dogs should be leashed and under control at all times. Cats and and small animals should be in a carriers.
For further information call the Humane Society at 301-645-8181.

Learn what it means if you have a bat in your house and the recommendations from the Department of Natural Resources.

Learn all about animals in public settings from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.


Snake Bite Prevention Tips

With warmer temperatures occurring, you need to be careful about encountering snakes outside in different areas of your yard, in parks, or in the woods and fields. Remember to be observant and to teach your children about snake bite prevention. Use common sense and never reach under rocks, bushes, or other areas where you cannot see and where a snake may be living. Most people get bitten on the hands or feet when they inadvertently step on a snake, or reach where they cannot see.


Most of the 27 species and subspecies of snakes found in Maryland are not venomous like the Northern brown snakes, rat snakes and garter snakes. However, there are two types of venomous snakes found in Maryland. They are the eastern copperhead and the timber rattlesnake (not found in Charles County).  The eastern copperhead snake is venomous and found in Charles County.  Do not attempt to capture or handle it.  They will bite if provoked, and the bites are extremely painful.  Seek medical attention immediately if bitten.  A pictorial guide to Maryland snakes can be found at the below Department of Natural Resources link:


The following additional tips to avoid being bitten by a snake are provided by the Maryland Poison Center.

  • Leave snakes alone. Do not try to get a closer look or try to pick up a snake.
  • Wear gloves when gardening. Move plants and weeds with a gardening tool before reaching your hand into a place that you cannot see.
  • Stay out of tall grass and remain on hiking paths. Use a walking stick to move grass and brush that you cannot see through if not hiking on a path.
  • Always hike with a friend.

If you are bitten, the Maryland Poison Center recommends the following:

Do not panic; keep still and calm. Fewer than 10 people die of snakebites each year in the United States.


Call the Maryland Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. If the person who was bitten is having trouble breathing or losing consciousness, call 911 immediately.


For additional information on prevention and first aid for snakebites, visit