Rabies, Rodents, Vectors, Arboviruses and Related Information

Rabies, Animal Bites, Bats, Wildlife

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.

Animal Bites, Scratches and Wildlife Encounters

Bat Encounters

If you find a bat in your house, DO NOT let the bat get outside. Call the ECDOH immediately at (716) 961-6800; after business hours call (716) 961-7898. Follow the steps below to capture the bat so that the ECDOH can test it for rabies.

  • If professional help is not available, capture the bat safely as described below or watch this video on how to safely catch a bat . You will need leather or very thick work gloves (put them on), a small box or coffee can, a piece of cardboard, and tape. 
  • When the bat lands, move slowly toward it.
  • While wearing the gloves, put the box or coffee can over the bat.
  • Then, slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside.
  • Tape the cardboard to the container, and punch small holes in the cardboard, allowing the bat to breathe.

Rabies Vaccination & Pet Health

Rabies in Erie County

Rodent (Rat) Control

ECDOH responds to service requests regarding rodent infestations for properties that are four (4) unit residences or less which are not part of an apartment complex or commercial property. We conduct investigations of complaints such as, but not limited to, properties that have rodent infestations, improperly stored garbage, junk & debris, improper bird and wildlife feeding, dog feces not cleaned up and disposed of properly. These are conditions that create rodent harborage and attract potentially dangerous nuisance wildlife.  Baiting service (extermination) is provided free of charge.  

To request baiting or to report a problem - complete the Rodent Service Request & Complaint Form or call (716) 961-6800

Educational Information

Arbovirus Prevention (Ticks, Mosquitoes, etc)

Arbovirus are viruses transmitted by bloodsucking arthropods such as mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. 

Mosquitoes & West Nile Virus

Ticks & Lyme Disease


I found a dead animal, such as a rat, on my property. Can the Health Department come out and pick it up?

The Erie County Department of Health does not have a service to come out to your property to remove dead animals.  It is acceptable to pick up a dead animal, such as a rat, with a shovel or gloved hand and bag it into your regular trash container.

There’s a wildlife animal (skunk, raccoon or other animal) on my property. Can the Erie County Health Department come out and remove it?

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) does not offer wildlife trapping services. 

If an animal is not leaving and is acting dangerous or aggressive and you need immediate help, contact your City, Town or Village to request assistance from the Animal Control Officer or a Police Officer. 

If an animal has set up residence on your property and won’t leave, you may need to hire a nuisance wildlife trapper. 

list of licensed Wildlife Control Officers is available here or you may call the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation at 716-851-7000.  Additional Information is available on our Nuisance Wildlife web page.

Please contact the ECDOH Rodent Control Program for assistance if you have a problem with rats on your property. 

Tips to Eliminate Wildlife Conflicts - Best practices for landowners to repel or control and prevent problems with unwanted animals.

Remove or "Take" Nuisance Animals Legally - Identify if you need a permit or license to legally trap or shoot an animal on your own.

I have bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders or other insects/pests in my home. Can the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) come out and exterminate them?

The ECDOH does not make inspections to identify or exterminate any type of insects or other pests involved in an infestation. 

If extermination is needed, occupants or property owners should hire a licensed professional exterminator, also known as a Pesticide Applicator, to identify the cause of an infestation and determine the best way to get rid of the problem. See the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Certified Pesticide Applicators to search for licensed professionals near you.

Erie County operates a Rodent Control Program for Erie County residents and property owners in 1, 2, 3 and 4 unit properties. The program provides inspection and extermination service for rodents only.  

Additional Information: 

There are bed bugs, cockroaches or other insects/pests where I work. Can the Health Department make my employer exterminate?

The ECDOH does not have jurisdiction over workplace environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the regulatory agency for workplace environments. 

See OSHA’s laws and regulations for information regarding infestations in the workplace.  You can also file a complaint with OSHA or call 1-800-321-6742.

I have bed bugs, cockroaches or other insects/pests in my apartment and my landlord says I’m responsible for exterminating. Is that true?

The answer to this question depends on how many dwelling units or apartments there are in the building where you live.

In a single family dwelling, the occupant is responsible for extermination of that dwelling.

In a multiple dwelling with two or more apartments, the owner is responsible for exterminating.  The owner is responsible for maintaining the building in good repair and sound condition and in a reasonably rat-proof and insect proof condition.

See the Erie County Sanitary Code for the Responsibility of Owners and Occupants

1.14 Responsibility for extermination. Every occupant of a dwelling containing a single dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests therein or on the premises. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a rat-proof or reasonable insect-proof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. Whenever infestation exists in two or more of the dwelling units in any dwelling, or in the shared or public parts of a dwelling containing two or more units, extermination thereof shall be the responsibility of the owner.

Erie County operates a Rodent Control Program for Erie County residents and property owners in 1, 2, 3 and 4 unit properties. The program provides inspection and extermination service for rodents only. 


Division of Environmental Health
ECDOH Building
503 Kensington Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214 
Map of Campus
Phone: 716-961-6800 (For Emergencies after regular business hours: 716-961-7898)
Fax: 716-961-6880