BRUNSWICK ANIMAL CONTROL officer Heidi Nelson, in the file photo on the left, removes a raccoon from a home on Hawthorne Street. Nelson will be a moderating panel on rabies in Brunswick on Thursday. In the photo above, a fox believed to have been rabid walks through the yard belonging to Moody Road resident Alex Hallett. Hallett took the photo from a second-floor window of his house. A fox bit three people along Moody Road recently. DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO

BRUNSWICK ANIMAL CONTROL officer Heidi Nelson, in the file photo on the left, removes a raccoon from a home on Hawthorne Street. Nelson will be a moderating panel on rabies in Brunswick on Thursday. In the photo above, a fox believed to have been rabid walks through the yard belonging to Moody Road resident Alex Hallett. Hallett took the photo from a second-floor window of his house. A fox bit three people along Moody Road recently. DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO

BRUNSWICK

Brunswick police say the best way to combat the spate of rabies attacks in Brunswick is education.

To that end, the police department’s animal control division is sponsoring a public rabies information session at 5 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.

Animal Control Officer Heidi Nelson will moderate a panel of experts to discuss the issue, in light of a number of attacks by rabid wildlife that have occurred this summer in Brunswick.

Those taking part in the session include:

 Michele Walsh, the state veterinarian with the Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry

 Scott Lindsey, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and biologist

 Evan Franklin, MDIFW game warden

 Mark Latti, MDIFW outreach and communications

“There really isn’t much we can do other than educating the public,” Nelson said last month “We have been trying to do that, and address their questions and concerns, which is why I have worked very hard this week to get this meeting put together for the people of Brunswick to address people on the front lines.”

ALEX HALLETT PHOTO

ALEX HALLETT PHOTO

Rabies is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Typically spread through a bite or scratch from a wild animal rabies, if untreated, can lead to death. Brunswick has seen a number of attacks over the course of the last two months.

Most recently, on July 27, a 5-year-old girl, three adults and a dog were attacked and injured by a rabid fox on Moody Road. On July 29, a skunk found on Range Road also tested positive for rabies; it didn’t appear to have had any contact with people.

The first report came June 13, when a rabid skunk got into a fight with a dog on High Street before an animal control officer was able to capture the skunk.

Later that week, a fox attacked Barbara Seneca, 72, on Woodland Drive while she was getting her mail, biting her on the legs and arms. A neighbor, Phillip Allred, intervened, pinning the fox until police arrived and shot the animal. That fox later tested positive for rabies.

Robert Galen, a 95-year-old Brunswick man, killed another rabid fox on June 25 after it approached him aggressively on Breckan Road. The man clubbed the animal to death with a broken wooden plank.

On June 29, Brandon Radzilowski was approached in a backyard on Bouchard Drive by a fox that was acting aggressively. He killed the animal with a shovel, and it also tested positive for rabies.

The incidents haven’t occurred in any one part of town, or even just in rural areas, and Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz previously said there is little police can do other than try to educate residents.

“In our mind, we already put the word out, so I think if we sent out another warning for another incident, people may think (rabies is) only in a certain area,” Waltz said.

At the end of last month, the Maine Center for Disease Control had confirmed approximately 44 cases of rabies in wildlife so far this year, with nine in the Midcoast area, with six in Brunswick and one each in Bowdoin, Lisbon and Lisbon Falls.

Last year Maine CDC confirmed 67 cases of rabid animals in the state.

Thursday’s information session will be streamed live and recorded on cable access channel TV3 in Brunswick.

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