Local News

Fox that attacked Hope Mills toddler tests positive for rabies

Posted July 8, 2014

— 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.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • krissy24 Jul 9, 2014

    Prayer for the family

  • Linda Kerns Kellogg Jul 8, 2014
    user avatar

    poor family! what a traumatic experience. So glad their family pet was current on his rabies vaccination!

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Jul 8, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Laugh all you want... Imagine one day your out walking the family pet... maybe with your kids too.. when a rabid animal attacks your pet... Your children now get a first hand view of the circle of life! Maybe when the animal is finished with your pet... it turns on your kids. I know... something like this would never happen, cause animals never attack.

  • Jul 8, 2014

    Which Fox station was it? And I can't believe the depths they'll stoop too just for a sensational story. Wait, it ISN'T a Fox news item? I'm sorry, I've just become so USED to them attacking everyone and every thing for a sensationalistic story. My bad.

  • norainonmyparade Jul 8, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Animals ARE armed. They have teeth and claws. A responsible gun owner having a weapon may save the life of another person, livestock or domesticated animal that is being attacked by a rabid animal, or even just any animal. If any animal attacked my kids, my dogs, or an adult in my yard, I would shoot it.

  • Ijaz Fahted Jul 8, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Lord knows they might be armed too. Better to have a good guy with a gun.......

    Seriously? SMH.

    Glad they got things under control and the child is getting proper treatment.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Jul 8, 2014
    user avatar

    One more reason I conceal carry.
    You can never be too careful when it comes to wildlife.

  • Pepe Silvia Jul 8, 2014

    I'm glad this article highlights the behavior of wild animals with rabies. Most people assume that rabies means they are foaming at the mouth and trying to attack but in many cases the warning sign is how tame and fearless they are. If they don't run away from you, you should absolutely get away from them.

    ANY time you see an animal acting strange you should get away as quickly as possible and call animal control ASAP.