Local News

Aberdeen woman, 80, fights fox attack with shovel

Posted July 19, 2011 12:06 p.m. EDT
Updated July 20, 2011 12:21 p.m. EDT

— 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.

"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.