PHIPPSBURG — A likely rabid fox terrorized a Phippsburg neighborhood Tuesday morning, attacking two people and multiple pets before the town’s animal control officer caught the animal.

The fox bit a 27-year-old woman who was walking to her car on Bakers Wharf Road, according to Cpl. Aaron Skolfield with the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office. He said she went to the hospital for treatment.

Phippsburg animal control officer Norm Turner said what is believed to the same red fox attacked another man in the area, who fended the fox off with an ice scraper.

“It went after a couple dogs, a cat, another dog and finally wound up at somebody’s house and I managed to get there before it left,” Turner said.

Turner found the fox, hit it with his catch pole, which stunned the animal long enough for Turner to get control of it. Turner held the fox in place until Skolfield arrive to hoot it. Turner took the fox to a lab in Augusta for rabies tests. The fox had porcupine quills embedded in its face, a warning sign the animal was likely rabid, because foxes generally don’t attack porcupines.

This is the fourth person attacked by a fox in the Midcoast since the start of 2020. A man was attacked in front of his home on Campbell Pond Road in West Bath last week. Police on Jan. 5 killed a fox that attacked a man on Moose Trail Drive in West Bath, hours after an attack on another man. That fox tested positive for rabies.

Despite the repeated attacks, state and local officials have laid out no plans to combat the spread of rabies among foxes in the Bath area. They have said that vaccines used in other parts of the state to combat rabies in raccoons might not be effective in foxes, and that local vaccination might not be effective because foxes can migrate into and out of the area. Officials have urged people to take measures to protect themselves, such as keeping an eye out for animals acting strangely, carrying pepper spray, and not leaving out food that could attract the animals.

Deputies killed a fox that was acting strangely on State Road in West Bath on Jan. 21. That animals also tested positive for rabies

Earlier this year, 88-year-old Norman Kenney of Bath was attacked by a rabid fox in his yard. It was the second time Kenney was attacked by a fox in four months. The retired Bath fire chief was knocked to the ground, receiving bites on his face and hands.

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted primarily through bites and exposure to saliva or spinal fluid from an infected animal. It infects the nervous system of mammals, making the infected animal unusually aggressive. Vaccines are 100 percent effective in combating the disease in humans. Rabies is fatal if left untreated.

This story will be updated.


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