The Maine Warden Service is looking into two separate fox attacks involving dogs that occurred in Rockland Wednesday.
Neither the dog or its owner were injured during the first attack, which occurred around 1 p.m on Pleasant Street, according to Maine Warden Service spokesperson Mark Latti. But during the second attack on nearby Railroad Avenue around 6:20 p.m., a dog’s owner was injured when she tried to stop the fox from attacking it. She was taken to the hospital, but Latti wasn’t sure about the extent of her injuries.
Since authorities have not been able to locate the fox or foxes, it is not known whether or not the animal was rabid. It is also not known if the same fox was responsible for both attacks in Rockland on Wednesday. Latti said it is possible that it was the same fox given the proximity of the two incidents.
With the animal’s rabies status being unknown, Latti said it would be best practices for the woman and her dog to be treated as though the animal was rabid. He did not know if they had been treated as of Thursday afternoon.
“It’s really difficult to tell [if the fox was rabid], you can’t tell just by behavior. The only true way to test if an animal is rabid or not is through a brain matter test,” Latti said.
During the first attack on Pleasant Street, the dog’s owner was able to scare away the fox by hitting it with a stick after the fox approached the dog and was pulling on the lead it was tied to.
Latti did not know if this incident was reported to police, though Rockland Police Sergeant Ken Smith said they received a report of a fox being in the area earlier in the day on Wednesday.
It was unknown how the woman was ultimately able to get the fox away from herself and the dog during the second attack, Latti said.
These are just the latest fox attacks to rock the midcoast this year. Since March, at least five fox attacks have been reported in Topsham. Out of those, only one of the animals tested positive for rabies. One animal was suspected to be rabid, and the other animals were not found or not tested because no one was injured during the attack.
Neighbors told the game warden investigating the incident that families of foxes have lived in the neighborhood for several years.
“It’s not unusual for foxes to be in suburban areas, they’re very adaptable,” Latti said. “A fox will make a home, unders sheds or a deck, under abandoned wood or anything.”