Three people including a 5-year-old girl were bitten by a fox Friday afternoon in Brunswick in what local police believe was another attack by a rabid animal.
Officers and game wardens went to a home on Moody Road just after 3:30 p.m. Friday, where a woman reported that her children were playing outside when one of them began screaming and banging on the door.
“The mother ran out and saw the fox attacking her daughter,” Brunswick police Cmdr. Thomas Garrepy said Monday. “The mother grabbed the fox and kicked it, and it took off into the woods,” but not before biting both the mother and child.
Both were taken by ambulance to Mid Coast Hospital.
A short time later, police received a report from residents of another Moody Road house that a man saw a chicken running in front of his house being chased by a fox, which eventually caught the chicken.
“The man said the fox then charged him, and he was able to punch the fox, but the fox then attacked a dog,” Garrepy said. The man suffered scratches on his calf, and police are not sure whether the dog was bitten.
Game wardens shot the fox, which was taken to Augusta for testing.
Later that day, officers discovered another woman from the area had been bitten while working in her garden, and had driven herself to Mid Coast Hospital.
Friday’s incidents follow four attacks by rabid animals in the Brunswick area within the past six weeks.
On June 18, two residents of Woodland Drive were bitten by a gray fox, and earlier that week, two dogs on High Street were attacked by a skunk that was then quarantined.
A 95-year-old Breckan Road man used a board to kill a rabid fox June 25, police said. While the fox bit the man, the Maine Warden Service and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention determined he did not need treatment because the bite did not break the skin, Animal Control Officer Heidi Nelson said at the time.
On June 29, a man gardening on Bouchard Drive was able to subdue an aggressive fox, which had been in the area of Paul Street, with a shovel without being exposed, police said at the time.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported two other attacks in the southern midcoast area in recent months, including a gray fox attack in Lisbon July 18 and an attack by a rabid bat in Bowdoin in May.
Bath police have received several complaints from people reporting that they saw a fox, but Lt. Robert Savary said several officers have seen the fox, including himself, “and it is not sick.”
He said an officer shot a raccoon over the weekend because it appeared sick, but the animal was not tested for rabies because no people had been exposed.
Topsham Lt. Fred Dunn said his department had not taken any reports of potentially rabid animals.
Freeport police did not immediately return a phone call Monday. The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office was reviewing its animal control calls Monday afternoon.
Brunswick Animal Control Officer Heidi Nelson is meeting with the Maine Warden Service to discuss a possible strategy to combat the recent incidents in the area.
“It does seem like we have a higher level than normal” of potential attacks by rabid animals, Garrepy said.
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