Bath man attacked by fox; rabies test under way

Posted July 17, 2012, at 2:35 p.m.

BATH, Maine — Bath police await tests results on the body of a fox that attacked a 67-year-old Bath man Monday evening while the man was working in his barn on Whiskeag Road.

“It was right out of the blue, if you will,” Bath Police Chief Mike Field said today of the incident, which was reported at 5:47 p.m. Monday. “The fox kept coming at him several times and I know he was bitten at least a couple of times on the hand.”

Rescue personnel encouraged the man to be treated at a local hospital but he declined, Field said, although they recommended he seek treatment later.

He said Animal Control Officer Ann Harford would follow up today with the man.

Harford captured and “dispatched” the fox Monday, and this morning took the body to Augusta to have it tested for rabies. Field said results could be available as soon as later today.

“To do what it did last night is very odd behavior, obviously, for a wild animal,” Field said. “We’re cautioning people that if they see any wildlife acting weird or sickly — this is an obvious case — to report it to local police and we’ll take it from there.”

According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, From January to July 2 of this year, there were two reported cases of rabies in Bath and Woolwich. On April 30, a woodchuck tested rabid in Bath, and a raccoon was found to have rabies on June 6.

During the same time, no cases were reported in Brunswick or Freeport. In Harpswell, a cat tested positive for rabies in January.

Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, said a mild winter likely contributed to a spike in confirmed cases of rabies this year, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Approximately 65 cases were reported statewide in each of the last three years, but already this year more than 50 cases have been confirmed, according to the Associated Press.

Times Record reporter Darren Fishell contributed to this report.

To see more from The Times Record, visit timesrecord.com.

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