Fox that attacked Hope Mills toddler tests positive for rabies
Posted July 8, 2014
Hope Mills, N.C. — State public health officials said Tuesday that a fox that attacked a 2-year-old over the weekend in a Hope Mills yard tested positive for rabies.
Jenna Johnson, who said she had never seen a fox before, said she and her family were playing with their 2-year-old dog, Bruce, outside their Spinnaker Drive home on Sunday evening when the animal attacked her son, Brent.
"Initially, we thought it was a little dog, and we were looking to make sure it not going to harm my son," she said.
The animal slowly approached the boy and when it got within 6 inches, she said. it jumped at him.
Johnson said her motherly instincts kicked in, and she grabbed the animal and threw it.
"I'm trying to figure out the next step, when the fox scratches me on the hand and I drop it," she said. "My very valiant dog – he comes up and grabs the fox away from me."
The fox then began to attack Bruce, a Great Dane-English Mastiff mix, before Johnson's husband killed the fox with a broom handle and called Cumberland County Animal Control, authorities said.
Bruce was up to date on its rabies vaccination but was given a booster shot at Animal Control.
Johnson and Brent are now undergoing a series of rabies shots as a precaution.
The first sign of rabies in animals is a change in behavior. Animals may become aggressive, attacking for no reason, or they may become very quiet. Wild animals can lose their fear of people and act tame. Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg or fall over. Some cannot swallow so they are not able to eat or drink and often drool.
Animals usually die within a week after first becoming ill.
Any pet that appears to have been in a fight while outside should be handled very cautiously and seen by a veterinarian, authorities said.
Anyone who is bitten or scratched by an animal should immediately wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap and seek medical attention/advice.
This is the 10th case of rabies in Cumberland County in 2014.