BRUNSWICK — A Brunswick woman and her dog escaped a fox that tried to bite her while walking in the School Street area at around 2:45 p.m. Friday.

She and the dog got away unscathed, according to a press release. School Street is located in the downtown between Maine and Federal streets.

The fox also acted aggressively toward a police officer who found it while searching surrounding streets. Another officer killed the fox a few blocks away.

Police didn’t state in the release why they think the fox was acting that way or if it is suspected of having rabies.

The dead fox was taken to the police station and will be stored until police can confirm it didn’t hurt anyone. As of Friday evening, they were unaware of injuries to humans or pets that may have crossed paths with the animal.

Municipalities pay to have wild animals that have had contact with a human or pet tested for rabies at the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory in Augusta.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of mammals, making the infected animal unusually aggressive. It is transmitted primarily through bites and exposure to saliva or spinal fluid from an infected animal.

Two animals have tested positive for rabies in Brunswick this year, both were raccoons.

At least one other person reported she was chased by a fox, however. Bath’s former city clerk, Mary Howe, resigned last month to focus on recovering from injuries she suffered while running away from a fox in her yard in Brunswick in September.

“I went out the door to go to the grocery store, and when I turned around the fox was at the end of the front steps staring at me with a mouthful of porcupine quills,” said Howe.

She hit the fox with her purse and tried to run away, but tripped on a rock and broke her thigh bone.

Brunswick saw an influx of rabies incidents last year. Seven people were attacked by rabid foxes in Brunswick between June and July 2018 — including four on Moody Road on the same day. One of the four people attacked on July 27 was a 5-year-old girl playing in her yard, along with her mother who ran to her rescue.

This year Bath has had 15 wild animals have test positive for the virus. A 6-year-old girl was bitten by a rabid fox on Bumpy Hill Road in August and an 87-year-old man was attacked by a fox on Getchell Street in September. On Nov. 3, a 52-year-old man was knocked over and bitten by a rabid fox and pinned against his home while in his backyard on Washington Street.

Two weeks ago the city issued a warning to residents to steer clear of animals acting strangely until winter comes.

A total of 90 wild animals have tested positive for rabies statewide this year as of Nov. 25, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

This summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture planned to spread more than 300,000 rabies vaccine baits in northern Maine. There were no plans to bait areas in the Midcoast, and wildlife officials have said they must stop the spread of rabies in northern Maine before tackling points south.

 

 

 

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