Local News

Potentially rabid fox caught in Chapel Hill

Posted March 20, 2013

Orange County Animal Services officers said Wednesday they believe they have caught a potentially rabid fox that attacked two people a day earlier.

The agency sent a news release about 11 a.m. to warn residents of the fox, which was still on the loose. But within an hour, authorities said they had found and impounded a dead fox. The animal will be tested for rabies, and results are expected later this week.

"It is important to note that while officials believe this to be the fox in question and the only fox displaying such behaviors, residents should remain alert until it is confirmed to be the case," Animal Services said in a statement.

Officers responded to a report of a fox attack Tuesday in the Dogwood Acres neighborhood. The victim was on a ladder, pruning trees when the animal approached.

Officers alerted nearby residents and began a search, but they were unable to find the fox.

Later that evening, another person was walking in the Southern Village area when the fox attacked.

Both people are seeking medical treatment, according to the agency.

Anyone who sees an animal behaving strangely is advised to stay away and call Animal Services at 919-942-7387, ext. 1, during business hours. After hours, residents should call 911.

Residents should also make sure pets have current rabies vaccinations. Any unvaccinated dog or cat that is suspected of having contact with a rabid animal must be quarantined for six months or destroyed.


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  • bayrvr Mar 20, 2013

    Just an FYI - the state is not interested in any animals that MIGHT have rabies. They are only interested in any animal that bites humans or pets. I thought they checked all wild animals who displayed the behavior that would likely indicate having rabies. I had a raccoon walk past my den window in the early afternoon and when I went outside to check on the situation it didn't even run. I followed it to the back of my property ( we live in the country ) and it simply crouched and growled at me. I chose to shoot it and when I called the state they said they we not interested in checking it and told me to buy it.

  • raleighwakenative Mar 20, 2013

    WRAL removed the sentence that said that the dead fox was the only fox displaying symptoms. How can a dead fox display symptoms? Glad they caught that. It gave me a chuckle though.

  • fishon Mar 20, 2013

    This time of year is also their mating season. That's why there are so many hit crossing the roads, trying to find a mate.

  • OleNCNative Mar 20, 2013

    Caught? Shouldn't it read 'found'? You can't catch a dead fox.

  • ryanwillett77 Mar 20, 2013

    Correction. Fox are highly adept at living inside neighborhoods and will easily choose to do so. Their habitat is being replaced by subdivisions on a daily basis and Orange County continues to protect Fox and Coyotes with ridiculous laws.
    Fox are NOT purely nocturnal. They feed on a cycle just like all wildlife does, typically following the movements of the moon. They are very social, esp the grey fox, and easily transmit disease such as rabies, distemper, and mange amongst the population.
    The quantity you see dead in the road is a sign of over population. Allow the trapping of fox and you'll not see as many dead on the road and you'll not have out breaks of communicable disease. Need to validate or question anything I have said? Call the Wildlife Resources Commission. They'll answer your questions.
    In short bunny huggers do more harm than good by over protecting wildlife and not addressing the declining You must reduce population when reducing habitat. Done through trapping.

  • Just Plain Common Sense Mar 20, 2013

    Good luck. I have been seeing dead foxes on roadways here in Cumberland County and wondered why they were out and about. Usually, they avoid humans and human areas. Saw one outside my back yard fence yesterday, but not that one! Hoping it was just following the creek and moved on.