Brunswick police on Tuesday said there appears to be a “widespread rabies epidemic” in the city after a fourth confirmed case of the disease.

Police were notified this week that a fourth wild animal has tested positive for rabies in the past three weeks. A rabid animal — a fox — attacked a man who was gardening on Bouchard Drive on June 29.

The man was able to subdue the fox with a shovel without being exposed, according to police.

On June 13, a woman on High Street let her dog outside, where it got into a fight with a skunkthat later tested positive for rabies. The woman tried to keep the skunk at bay by spraying it with a hose, police said.

Later that week, a rabid fox attacked a Brunswick woman who was retrieving her mail and then bit a neighbor who tried to help her. Both residents were treated at Mid Coast Hospital and the fox was shot by a police officer. The woman, 72-year-old Barbara Senecal later said the fox “looked vicious” and knocked her off her feet and bit her on her legs and arm.

On June 25, a 95-year-old man was repairing the deck on his home on Breckan Road when a fox approached him. Robert Galen used a broken plank to fend off the fox, which later tested positive for rabies.


“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,” Galen said after his encounter with the fox.

Animals have tested positive for rabies in the downtown, Meadowbrook, Pleasant Street and River Road areas, police said.

“It is imperative that all animals that can be vaccinated are current on their rabies shots,” Commander Mark Waltz said in a statement. “Residents and visitors should also be extra vigilant when they encounter wildlife.”

Rabies is a disease that 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 be fatal.

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