Waterford man fights off suspected rabid fox

By Tony Reaves, Lewiston Sun Journal
Posted Aug. 19, 2011, at 5:11 a.m.

WATERFORD, Maine — Michael Grover stepped out onto his porch for a cigarette Wednesday night when a fox came from beneath his steps on Five Kezars Road and attacked his leg. At first he thought it was a cat or a fisher, he said.

The fox repeatedly bit at his leg, often hanging off his jeans. He said it tried to follow him into his house twice, but both times he kicked it out. Grover said his jeans took most of the attack. “It bit me one place and broke through the skin.”

“The second time I went out, it was attached to my pant leg,” he said. He had to walk back out with it hanging off his pant leg to keep it from getting to his wife and his dogs. “I obviously didn’t want it in the house.”

“I had my hands full for a couple of minutes. I can tell you that.”

He went back into the house, showed his wife his bloody leg and told her he’d been attacked by a fox. “’I think it’s rabid,’” he said he told her. They waited a few minutes for it to go before heading to the truck to drive to the hospital.

“I said, ‘I don’t see it out here anywhere, but I’ll go first because I’ve already been attacked by it.’” When they reached the truck, the fox charged him again.

“It got me three times trying to get into the truck. Finally, the only defense I had was I just kept kicking it,” Grover said. “I kicked it probably 20 feet or so.” He said with every step he took, the fox would be right back at his leg.

Once he was in the truck, the fox started attacking the left front tire. He started the truck and turned the wheel toward the animal and moved the truck a few feet, running it over and killing it. “That one won’t bother anybody again,” he said.

Grover went to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway for treatment and reported it to the Maine Warden Service. The fox could be rabid, according to a game warden.

Grover received shots Wednesday night in case the animal was rabid, his wife, Karen, said.

The fox has been sent to a lab to be tested for rabies. Grover said if the fox turns out to be rabid, he’ll have to go back to the hospital for further treatment.

He said he didn’t see foaming at the mouth or staggering, two telltale signs of rabies. “It was very aggressive,” he said.

Game Warden Kris Barboza, who responded to the attack, said if the animal proves to be rabid it will be the first such incident this year.

Barboza said anyone approached by an animal should look for the signs of rabies, which include acting aggressively, foaming at the mouth and stumbling as if drunk. He said people should get inside a car or building and call a game warden. Anyone bit by an animal should go to the hospital for treatment, he said.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/19/news/lewiston-auburn/waterford-man-fights-off-suspected-rabid-fox/ printed on August 21, 2014