Local News

Aberdeen woman, 80, fights fox attack with shovel

Posted July 19, 2011
Updated July 20, 2011

— A fox attacked two Aberdeen women Tuesday morning, and Moore County animal control officers had to kill the animal, authorities said.

The fox was sent to a lab for tests to determine if it had rabies.

Lee Clayton was walking outside her home on Chancery Lane at about 6:40 a.m. when she noticed the fox, which she said she had seen around the area a few times before. Then, she said, the animal lunged at her.

"I looked down and saw him on me, and I was just screaming and yelling. I grabbed him by the scruff to shake him loose, and it was like an alligator bite," Clayton said. "As soon as he let go of my leg, he started on this one, and I'm screaming and yelling."

Her 80-year-old mother, Martha Swaringen, heard her cries and came outside to beat the fox off her daughter with a shovel.

Martha Swaringen Aberdeen woman, 80, fights fox attack with shovel

"I was trying to hit his head without hitting Lee," Swaringen said.

The fox bit her on the foot.

"I turned (the shovel) and said, I'm going to give it everything I have, and I went down," Swaringen said about how she immobilized the fox. 

When animal control officers arrived, they shot the animal.

Clayton got nine stitches in her leg and her mother got three in the foot. Both women had to get a series of rabies shots.

Al Carter, director of Moore County Animal Control, said test results are expected by noon Wednesday. He said the county sends an average of six specimens a month to a lab for testing.

So far this year, two captured raccoons and a skunk have tested positive for rabies.


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  • jacamillo Jul 21, 2011

    Go, Granny! Wow! LOL @mfarmer1!

  • mfarmer1 Jul 20, 2011

    When I Was A Kid My Dad Would Have Cooked Him Up For Dinner.

    He Was Always Dragging Something Dead Carcass Home For Dinner.

    Now, I Normally Don't Eat Anything Now Unless It Had A Store Label On It.

    FYI: Porcupine Tastes Like Turkey.

  • MikeTysonsPunchOut Jul 20, 2011

    @ reverendbaxter:
    hahah I loved the comment about "Praying for the fox"...I laughed hard at that one...I hope you were kidding!

    Good job on whacking the fox! That is one reason I love my dog...she would tear up a fox if it came at me.

  • NoTimeToulouse Jul 20, 2011

    I'm betting that fox is rabid. They don't usually attack people for no reason. Glad those women are ok! I'm sure those rabies shots are no fun :(

    Also, she looks dang good for 80! And I loved her comment about the baseball bat. She ain't gonna take no guff from no fox!

  • Southern Girl Jul 19, 2011

    Good for her. People feed these animals, and they know better. Hope they see this article and stop feeding the foxes, racoons and anything else that comes up during the night.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jul 19, 2011

    Australian Shepherd works well also to keep critters away.

  • 1 awesome Dad Jul 19, 2011

    My Grandma's rooster would attack me and I threw a party on the day that chicken croaked

  • reverendbaxter Jul 19, 2011

    Praying for the fox.

  • oldrwizr Jul 19, 2011

    Cure for foxes in the yard. Jack Russell Terrier. Also cures oppossum and raccoon problems.

  • ICTrue Jul 19, 2011

    "I have a fox that visits my yard every night right about the time it gets dark to somewhere right after dark. "

    If you see it out there during the day, shoot it.