Seth Meyers references the most recent fox attack on 88-year-old Bath resident Norman Kenney about a minute into a monologue Wednesday night.

BATH — An elderly Bath man who fought two rabid foxes in the past four months got some national limelight Wednesday when his story became joke fodder on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

“An 88-year-old man Maine fought off his second fox attack in four months this week by choking the animal with his bare hands. Usually, the only person who’s the victim of this many Fox attacks is Hillary [Clinton],” Meyers said, taking a jab at the right-leaning cable news network.

Norman Kenney, 88, of Getchell Street was first attacked by a fox at his home on Sept. 7. The fox bit at his leg but never punctured the skin, sparing Kenney from the post rabies vaccinations.

Last Friday, a second rabid fox jumped him outside his home and bit him above his eye before he fell to the ground. Kenney tried to strangle the animal for several minutes before a jogger stopped to help. That fox has since tested positive for rabies.

Kenney, a retired fire chief, laughed at the poke when reached by phone Thursday. He hadn’t heard that his story had made it to Seth Meyers’ show.

“Well I’m not going to comment on that,” Kenney said. “That’s politics for you.”

Despite the jokes, rabies has become a serious concern in the area, with dozens of attacks and incidents in Bath and surrounding communities.

Bath City Manager Peter Owen said Wednesday that Rep. Sean Paulhus of Bath, also a city councilor, has written to the state requesting help with the rabies problem in Bath. The state’s Rabies Working Group is meeting Jan. 21 and plans to discuss Bath’s issues, he said.

Sixteen animals tested positive for the rabies virus in 2019 in Bath, the most out of any community in Maine. That year, three animals tested positive in Brunswick, one in Freeport, one in Lisbon, one in Bowdoin, three in Bowdoinham, one in West Bath and 16 in Bath. Statewide, 105 wild animals have tested positive for rabies in 2019.

In 2018, nine animals tested positive for rabies in Brunswick, three in Lisbon, four in Bowdoin, two in Bath and one animal tested positive in West Bath, according to the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab. Statewide, 112 wild animals tested positive.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture drops oral rabies vaccine baits by air and ground every year in northeastern Maine to stem the spread of raccoon rabies, the department said it has no plans to distribute baits in the Midcoast.

Recognizing the unusual nature of his run-ins with foxes, Kenney said he understands the interest in his story. He’s taken calls from the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and a couple of talk shows in addition to Maine media outlets.

Thursday, Kenney said he continued to heal from his skirmish with the fox.

“His neck was in my hands,” he said. “I realize right now how close I was to really getting chewed.”

Kenney has to go back to the hospital Friday for another rabies shot and has to get one more shot after that. He bought himself a canister of mace in case he should meet another fox and is working on a way to reinforce his collapsible cane. He remains vigilant when outside his home.

“If I never see a fox again, it will be too soon,” he said.

 

 

 

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