FARMINGDALE — A Farmingdale man was bitten twice by a fox Tuesday outside his Blaine Road home, but officials say while the fox was killed, they don’t know whether it was rabid.

David Polley was taking the trash out around 9:30 a.m. when he apparently surprised a fox outside, according to Mark Latti, communications director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

The fox bit Polley on the leg, and then on the hand when Polley tried to get the animal off his leg.

Polley called for help, and the Gardiner Ambulance responded, as did the Warden Service.

Latti said Justin Fowlie, a sergeant with the Warden Service, and Andrew Killen, an animal control officer with Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, saw the fox immediately when they arrived shortly after 10 a.m.

The fox ran into a collapsed barn on the property, and Fowlie wasn’t able to get a shot at it at first because he was too close to the house. But, Latti said, he was able to flush out the fox so that Killen could shoot it with a small caliber rifle and was confident he had hit it.


The fox went back under the collapsed barn. After they tried to pull boards out to locate the fox, Latti said Polley told the wildlife officials he believed the fox was dead.

“It’s difficult to say whether the fox was rabid or not,” Latti said. “Unless we test it, we can’t tell definitively.”

It seemed to react naturally, he said, being afraid of the warden and the animal control agent when they arrived.

“In this instance, when you are bitten by a wild animal, it’s best to get a rabies shot,” he said.

He said Polley went to the hospital for treatment and a rabies shot.

Polley could not be immediately reached for comment and a visit to his home by a reporter was unsuccessful.


Tuesday’s incident comes after sporadic reports of contacts with rabid animals in central Maine this summer.

In July, a rare case of rabies in a kitten was reported in Gardiner, prompting officials to post a warning sign in the area of a known cat colony.

At about the same time, a West Gardiner property owner shot and killed a gray fox on his property that later tested positive for rabies.

In early August, a rabid raccoon was reported in Oakland.

The state wildlife department maintains a page on its website with information on how to deal with orphaned, sick or injured wildlife, including how to identify sick animals and when to seek help.

While it is normal behavior for wildlife to travel around, feed or hunt in full view — day or night — when people are around, it is not normal for animals to spin in circles, fall over, foam at the mouth or exhibit aggression toward people, domestic animals or other objects.

“It’s difficult in a situation like this, but we recommend you keep your distance from wildlife,” Latti said.

He also advised keeping anything that would attract animals out of yards to prevent this kind of interaction.

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