Courtesy of Maine IF&W Gray fox are commonly found in southern and central Maine, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Game wardens searched in Monmouth Monday for a gray fox that is believed to be rabid, while a man in Brunswick was bitten by a fox later found to carry the virus.

BRUNSWICK

Brunswick police say another resident has been bitten by a rabid animal. A 95-year-old man was bitten on the foot by a fox at around 4:10 p.m. Monday near his Breckan Road residence. The man was able to kill the animal with a piece of wood before it could hurt him . The fox tested positive for rabies.

This is the third Brunswick victim in the last ten days. Two residents were attacked by a rabid fox June 17.

The fox bit the man’s foot, but is not believed to have broken the skin according to police.

Robert Galen has lived in his home on Breckan Road for more than 50 years. Since the house was built in 1961, he has lived in a menagerie, he said. Located in Meadowbrook, there are woods behind his house and Mere Brook, so he sees a variety of animals.

Monday afternoon, however, was an alarming encounter with what he estimated was a 10-pound fox. He had been repairing his deck and dropped some of the sawed planks down onto the lawn because he planned to make a raised bed in his garden. With gloves on, he was walking around the house to fetch the planks and carry them to the garden. One of the planks split when it fell, and was the size of club. He’d picked it up when he looked up and saw a mature fox, “looking me right in the eye.”

Galen estimated the fox was less than two feet away.

“I’d been aware of the rabies  incidents in Brunswick so I almost instinctively hit this animal on the head with the club I had, fortunately, I my hand,” he said.

Asked if the animal attacked or lunged at him, “It never got the opportunity,” Galen said. “Any fox or racoon or skunk that approaches a human being within a foot and a half is abnormal.”

It took him about 10 minutes to subdue the animal. As he fought the animal, he fell backward into a bush at one point and hurt his lower back. He continued to strike the fox from an inclined position until he was able to get up out of the bush.

Once the fox was dead, Galen said he called 911 and Brunswick police came. A Maine warden came and took the fox and Tuesday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention notified him the animal tested positive for rabies.

He was relieved.

“I didn’t want to kill an innocent animal,” he said.

Though he had a couple of scratches on the top of his sneaker, the fox did not penetrate his sock. Galen said he didn’t come into contact with the saliva of the animal, “but I was doggone close.”

He did consult with his family physician and had an x-ray taken of his lower back. He hopes to return to his normal activity by next week. He plays golf or bicycles at least four times a week. 

He also has alerted everyone in his neighborhood about the rabid fox, and warned neighbors to keep an eye on their pets in particular in case they had an interaction with the fox.

“Our advice is anyone who has contact with a possibly rabid animal wants to seek professional advice on the next steps,” said Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz.

Barbara Senecal,72, of Brunswick and her neighbor Mark Allred were treated for the attacks on June 17. Senecal suffered bites to both legs and her arm as she tried to subdue the fox. Allred suffered a bite to the hand while Senecal called for help.

“We want to remind people to make sure that their animals are up to date on their rabies shots because their appears to be rabies in the area,” said Waltz.

 

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