BRUNSWICK — A 95-year-old man used a broken plank to fend off a rabid fox on Monday.

Robert Galen is the third person in Brunswick to grapple with a rabid fox in the last 10 days. Two residents were attacked on June 17. That fox was killed by a police officer.

Galen has lived in his home on Breckan Road for more than 50 years. Located in Meadowbrook, there are woods behind his house and Mere Brook, so he sees a variety of animals.

On Monday afternoon, Galen had an alarming encounter with a fox that he estimated weighed about 10 pounds.

He had been repairing his deck and was walking around the house to fetch planks. Wearing work gloves, he picked up one broken plank that was the size of a club, and when he looked up he saw a mature fox “looking me right in the eye.”

Galen estimated the fox was less than 2 feet away.


“I’d been aware of the rabies incidents in Brunswick so I almost instinctively hit this animal on the head with the club I had, fortunately, in my hand,” he said.

Asked if the animal attacked or lunged at him, “It never got the opportunity,” Galen said. “Any fox or rabbit or skunk that approaches a human being within a foot and a half is abnormal.”

It took him about 10 minutes to subdue the animal. As he fought the animal, he fell backward into a bush but continued to strike the fox.

A Maine warden took away the dead fox, and on Tuesday the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention notified him the animal had tested positive for rabies.

He was relieved.

“I didn’t want to kill an innocent animal,” he said.


Though he had a couple of scratches on the top of his sneaker, the fox did not penetrate his sock. Galen said he didn’t come into contact with the saliva of the animal, “but I was doggone close.”

“Our advice is anyone who has contact with a possibly rabid animal wants to seek professional advice on the next steps,” said Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz.

Galen consulted his family physician, and though he hurt his back when he fell, he believes he’ll be ready to return to his normal activity by next week. He plays golf or bicycles at least four times a week.

He has alerted everyone in his neighborhood about the rabid fox, and warned neighbors to keep an eye on their pets in particular in case they had an interaction with the fox.

“We want to remind people to make sure that their animals are up to date on their rabies shots because there appears to be rabies in the area,” said Waltz.

Barbara Senecal,72, of Brunswick and her neighbor Mark Allred were treated for the attacks on June 17. Senecal suffered bites to both legs and her arm as she tried to subdue the fox. Allred suffered a bite to the hand.

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