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‘He looked vicious’: Brunswick woman recounts rabid fox attack

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The incident occurred June 17 when Barbara Senecal of Woodland Drive was walking to her mailbox to get her mail.

Senecal, 72, said she often sees wildlife on her morning walk, so she wasn’t afraid when she first noticed the animal.

“I saw the fox on the other side of the road,” Senecal said. “I saw his face and thought ‘he’s going to run away from me.’ ”

But suddenly “I see him bounding toward me and he looked vicious. I knew he was on to me,” she said.

Senecal said there was little she could do when the fox knocked her off her feet but to grab the fox’s neck and scream. She said her scream for help was also out of pain from the fox biting her legs and right arm.

“I started screaming even though I thought no one would be around to hear me,” said Senecal. “Suddenly a guy came out from a trailer, he had heard me scream.”

The neighbor, Phillip Allred, was able to wrestle the fox off Senecal and pin it down while she, despite her injuries, was able to get up and run back to her house to call for help.

“At that time I was fleeing, I didn’t even really think about it. As soon as I got inside I told my husband to call 911,” Senecal said. “He was so surprised I ended up doing it myself.”

Two police officers were dispatched to the scene, and one of them shot the fox. It later tested positive for rabies.

Senecal is now taking a series of shots to treat the rabies. She said her legs below the knees are giving her the most pain.

Allred was bitten on the hand and he also received rabies shots.

Senecal said she doesn’t intend to walk to her mailbox empty-handed again. She says she’ll carry her cellphone at the very least, and perhaps a baseball bat.

“I want people, all people, especially people walking down country roads to be aware of their surroundings,” said Senecal. “It’s been a quiet road for 15 years; you never know.”

It was the second incident in Brunswick involving a rabid animal in a week.

Police said on the morning of June 13, a woman on High Street let her dog outside where it got into a fight with a skunk.

“She was using the hose to try to keep the skunk at bay and make it leave, and it was not leaving,” Animal Control Officer Heidi Nelson said.

Nelson and another animal control officer responded to the incident and were able to capture the animal. The skunk was euthanized and taken to Augusta, where it tested positive for rabies.

The owner’s dog and a neighborhood dog that also had come  into contact with the skunk were quarantined.

Police notified the public of both incidents via Facebook last Wednesday, a week after the first incident occurred.

“As a reminder, vaccinate your pets, do not approach wildlife and call the police if you see an animal acting aggressively,” the post read.

Rabies affects the brain and spinal cord, and is usually spread through a bite or scratch from a wild animal that has the virus. If left untreated it can lead to death.

Nelson noted that human contact with rabid animals is fairly rare, but does occasionally happen.

“The possibility is always there, whether we have reported cases or not,” she said. “There could be other animals out there.”

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