ROCKLAND — Kendal Anderson said she was getting ready for a barbecue on her deck Wednesday when a fox came from running across nearby railroad tracks and grabbed her rat terrier/chihuahua mix, which had been lying down nearby.

“My mama bear instinct kicked in,” Anderson said, and she grabbed the fox to try to pry her dog, June, free.

The fox then bit her right hand. She slammed the animal against her deck but it would not loosen its grip on the dog. She finally freed June and tossed the fox over the tracks, but it came lunging back.

Her screams caught the attention of a man in a nearby parking lot who ran over with a piece of lumber, and the fox ran.

Anderson received her first shot Wednesday night to prevent rabies and was also given antibiotics.

The dog, which had been vaccinated against rabies, was given a booster and stayed overnight at a vet. She suffered a torn paw pad and several gashes, and is on pain medication.


Rockland police and the state warden service searched for the fox but had not located it by Thursday. Without catching the animal, there is no way to determine whether it is rabid, said Mark Latti, communications director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Neighbors had reported seeing a fox that looked sick during the day Wednesday, Latti said. A fox had attacked another dog on Pleasant Street in Rockland earlier in the day.

Latti said vaccinating pets will keep them safe from rabies. He also urged people to make sure there is no pet or other food kept outside that would attract animals.

Foxes are comfortable living in residential areas and will live under sheds or porches, Latti said.

The website Webmd advises anyone who is bit by an animal to wash the wound right away with soap and water, which is the best way to lower the risk of infection, and to see a doctor as soon as possible to determine whether a rabies vaccination is needed.

“If your doctor suspects rabies, they’ll begin treatment with the rabies vaccine — postexposure prophylaxis,” WebMD advises. “The vaccine is always successful if it’s given immediately after exposure. You’ll get one dose of fast-acting rabies immune globulin, which will prevent you from getting infected by the virus. Then you’ll get four rabies vaccine shots over the next 14 days.”

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