Animal Issues

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Animal Bites and Rabies Prevention

We investigate all animal bites. Unfortunately, both domestic and wild animal bites and encounters create a potential for rabies exposure.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. It is transmitted from infected animals to humans.  With early intervention, rabies can be prevented.  However, it is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.

What if I am bitten?

  • Domestic Animal Bites
    • Report all domestic animal bite incidents to the Wauwatosa Police Department at the non-emergency number (414) 471-8430. The police report will be sent to us to investigate.
  • Wild Animal Bites
    • For wild animal exposure, including bat encounters, please contact us as soon as possible at (414) 479-8936. If you have the animal contained, do not release it to nature or harm the animal, since it may be needed for testing.
  • Medical Care
    • Thoroughly wash the animal bite or scratch wounds with liberal amounts of soap and water and seek medical attention.



The rats that live in Wauwatosa are Norway rats. There are no known reports of individuals in Wauwatosa contacting any illness from a rat. There are no known cases of Norway rats spreading Hantavirus to humans.

However, other types of rats can spread disease and interfere with economic and physical well-being.

Rats, predominately burrowing rodents, are most active at night and are seldom seen during the day except when there is a large rat population. Rats will eat almost anything and often feed on pet or bird seed.

What are signs of rat activity?

  • Droppings: shiny and dark colored when fresh
  • Runways: rats use the same trails from burrow to food, water and shelter
  • Burrows: found along walls, wood piles, and concrete slabs
  • Gnawing: rats must gnaw to keep their front teeth worn down

How can I prevent rat activity?

All homeowners and business owners can control the physical environment to limit rat populations. In Wauwatosa, it is property owners' responsibility to prevent conditions on their property that provide a home or food source for rats.

  • Eliminating food sources
    • Use a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid for storing garbage
    • Do not leave pet food where rats can have access to it
    • Do not put food scraps in your compost pile or use the pit method of composting
    • Bird feeders may also be a source of food for rats
  • Eliminate shelters
    • Get rid of all rubbish, junk, and unwanted materials where rats can hide and live
    • Store building materials, firewood, etc. at least 18 inches above the ground
    • Grass clippings and tree trimmings can provide additional shelter
    • Prevent rats from entering buildings by closing all access route
  • Poison or trapping can be used to supplement good prevention practices but should not be used as a substitute for prevention
  • Rat poison is sold by many companies and is available to the general public - be sure to follow all instructions on the label completely
  • Please only use rat poison if you know you have a rat population issue
  • Trapping may be effective if populations are small

If you need more help, please contact a professional pest control specialist.

Do I have rats on my property?

We respond to complaints about rats and mice and provide information about rodent control and enforcement according to the Wauwatosa ordinance. We do not offer baiting or elimination services but can refer you to pest control companies.

You can report illegal dumping of garbage and solid waste on private property to the Wauwatosa Department of Property Maintenance at (414) 479-8981.


It is common for bats to find their way into homes and apartments. However, a very small amount of bats (2-3%) carry the rabies virus and testing is done only when necessary.

What if I find a bat in my home?

If you find a bat in your home, avoid coming into contact with the bat. If you or someone else has been exposed, the bat may need to be tested for rabies.

For recommendations on how to safely capture a bat, contact us by email or phone at (414) 479-8936. If needed, we can help you find animal control contractors who can assist if you are not comfortable doing this yourself.  

Limitations on Cats and Dogs

According to the Wauwatosa Municipal Code Chapter 9.04.020 - Regulation of Animals, residents of Wauwatosa may not have more than a total of three dogs or cats or a combination thereof.


Wauwatosa Municipal Code Chapter 9: Animals

Animal Bites



Questions and Complaints

To ask a question or to file a complaint, fill out the form below or call (414) 479-8936.

Other concerns about properties

Please contact us if you have other concerns about properties, such as debris in a yard, broken windows, grass taller than 6 inches, peeling paint, or other items.