Local News

Residents on the run after being out-foxed by foxes

Posted July 15, 2009 11:41 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2009 8:12 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.