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Residents on the run after being out-foxed by foxes

Posted July 15, 2009
Updated July 18, 2009

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— More and more Triangle residents are seeing, and sometimes being chased, by foxes, and animal control officials are warning people to stay away from the possibly rabid animals.

Residents on rabid foxes alert Residents on rabid foxes alert

The number of rabies cases this year has spiked with nearly 50 state-wide rabid fox reports, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission. Wildlife officials said they are getting calls about rabid foxes, particularly in Wake and Durham counties.

Scott Thompson said he had only a bat to protect himself against a fox that kept attacking him Monday afternoon on Chesterfield Road in Raleigh.

"As soon as I stepped back, it lunged toward me,” Thompson said. "It ripped my pants to shreds."

Officials said that fox was rabid. Thompson was not scratched or bitten, but he must undergo rabies shots as a precaution.

Earlier that same day, officials said a dog in the same neighborhood was also chased by a fox.

"It was very scary. It was unnerving,” Thompson said.

Foxes also have residents in the Hamstead Crossing Community, off Glenwood Avenue and Duraleigh Road, on the run.

"It has been going on about four or five weeks,” resident Virginia Rogers said.

Rogers, an officer with the Hamstead Crossing Homeowners Association, said the foxes chase dog walkers all the way to their doorsteps. She said one woman couldn't get home fast enough.

"She ended up grabbing the dogs and jumping into someone else's truck,” Rogers said.

Rogers has posted signs to alert residents about the foxes.

Officials warn that a fox seen acting strangely  – stumbling, falling or spinning – may be rabid.

Some wildlife officials said there appears to be a larger fox population this year. However, foxes are not likely rabies carriers.

Rabid raccoons are more common with nearly 150 cases statewide this year, officials said.

If you see a potentially rabid animal

Whenever a person is bitten or scratched by an unknown animal, they should thoroughly clean the wound with soap and warm water, and contact their physician or Wake County Community Health immediately. The phone number for Wake County Community Health is 919-250-4462; the after-hours number is 919-839-3059.

Wake County Animal Control officials urge the following:

  • Avoid interactions with wildlife.
  • Be sure pets are current with rabies vaccinations.
  • Do not leave trash or food outside, unless it is in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
  • If a pet is fed outside, do not leave food out overnight.
  • Do not leave pets outdoors unattended.
  • If your pet comes in contact with wildlife, contact your veterinarian immediately.


To report animal complaints and stray animals:

  • In Wake County (except Cary, Garner, Holly Springs and Raleigh), call 212-PETS (7387)
  • In Cary, call 319-4517
  • In Garner, call 772-8896
  • In Holly Springs, call 557-9111
  • In Raleigh, call 831-6311

More information on rabies can be found online through the N.C. Division of Public Health.

18 Comments

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  • kitcat718 is a college student Jul 16, 2009

    I live in one of the neighborhoods in question. I've been there 5 yrs and have NEVER seen foxes as aggressive as they are this year. I've seen them hover and stare folks down. I have seen them chase people. It's really scary. The neighborhood has been there 25 yrs. It has to do with the new developments across the street. It is ridiculous that NC Wildlife won't do anything. I can't send my child out to play for fear she'll be attacked. So frustrating!

  • lkanzig Jul 16, 2009

    they wont come out and try to cath the animal till someone gets bitten.?
    does this make sense to anyone?
    ANIMAL CONTROL.
    does every agency in this state follow bev's blow people off mentality?
    no wonder nc is becoming the joke in the usa!

  • 5Rs Jul 16, 2009

    It is very difficult to get any of the bureaucracies to help you remove foxes. Once you give up and say you will trap and move them, they will tell you "you can't do that". That is about the extent of the help we got three months ago after a number of calls. (health care will be like this shortly). There are more foxes in the Triangle area now than in the last thirty years, they are seen regularly. It is likely that a rabies epidemic will wipe many of them out in the next couple of years. BE CAREFUL!

  • Professor Jul 16, 2009

    Where is the animal control officers. If there is none, get a gun and start shooting for your safety.

  • ladyblue Jul 16, 2009

    I guess even the wild animals get tired of being forced out of there habitat and have decided to fight back.

  • Willie_11 Jul 16, 2009

    Time to go to Walmart and get that .22 I've been putting off. Hopefully I can get it before Obama takes my right to bear arms away.

  • davidbh61255 Jul 16, 2009

    When we started the leash-law the dogs no longer keep the wildlife at a distance in town.

  • cavscout Jul 16, 2009

    You can not legally trap foxes this time of year. You must first get a depredation permit and you need to have some knowledge of what you are doing to avoid injury to you and the animal.

    This time of year mothers are starting to get their young out and show them the ropes of hunting and surviving. If you accidentally get to close to them, the mother sees you as a threat and she WILL defend the little ones. Most of what you are seeing now are not rabid foxes, they are just mothers doing what mothers do.

  • kimmyrn6 Jul 16, 2009

    Unfortunately, bt_solutions is right. As more development occurs, the foxes, deer, rabbits, etc have nowhere to go. Therefore, they join us! I live in Delta Ridge off Glenwood and Duraleigh which is not to far from Hamstead Crossing and close to Umstead Park/a densely undeveloped area and I have seen foxes, rabbits, and even a momma deer and a baby deer standing right behind where my car is parked. There is simply nowhere for them to go.

  • Commentor5 Jul 16, 2009

    KnowWhatIMean "We have a mother fox and babies living in our subdivision. When I called NC Wildlife, they pretty much blew me off and said there is nothing they can do until someone gets bitten...Seems like things are very backwards."

    Nope, things aren't backwards - it's just the way it is in North Carolina. Don't worry and don't panic, you'll get used to living with the wildlife.

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