Dependable Erection

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A gray fox Tuesday emerged from the woods near Westminster School for Young Children and bit a student, a little girl, on the leg.

The animal ran into the woods but was captured.

"Eight animal-control officers responded -- promptly," said the Old Chapel Hill Road school's director, Kathy Stickley.

The fox was killed, and a sample has been sent to a lab for rabies testing, Durham County Animal Control Director Cindy Bailey said. Results are expected today.

Stickley sent home a note explaining that the children were on the playground when the fox slipped in and attacked the child.

After the fox attacked, a staff member called 911, and then called the little girl's mother. Emergency personnel showed up and treated the child.

The little girl's classmates were intrigued by the fox.

"They're very interested in it," said Stickley, who praised her staff for keeping the kids calm and otherwise handling the situation.

Bailey recommended that the children stay off the playground for a while. The dead fox was a juvenile, so there could be a litter of young foxes lurking in the nearby woods, Bailey said.

Bailey's officers have set traps to apprehend any foxes that might venture outside of the woods.

Same story, reported by the N&O:
A young fox climbed into a fenced play yard at a Durham day care Tuesday morning and bit a 4-year-old girl.

. . .

George Strader, a state wildlife biologist, said fox attacks are uncommon and typically indicate rabies.

"These are actually the first I've heard of this year," he said.

Animal control personnel in both counties blamed the attacks on rabies.

"He looked like Marty Feldman," Hess said of the gray fox he caught after the Chapel Hill attacks. "That's a furious form of rabies."

Both foxes were sent to the N.C. State Laboratory for Public Health for rabies tests. The victims will need vaccines.

"All the indicators ... would say yes," Durham animal control administrator Cindy Bailey said of the likelihood of rabid foxes. "Those are not actions that a healthy fox would take. They would retreat from a child and go back in the woods."

The first attack occurred about 10 a.m. Tuesday on the playground at Westminster School for Young Children in Durham. The fox chased some children and bit one girl on the back of the leg before escaping.

Responding to a 911 call, eight Durham Animal Control officers were able to trap the animal in a large trash can.

"It angrily pulled everything that was in the trash can out," Bailey said. "I had my entire field staff out there. ... They were using the trash can to shield their bodies from the fox."

Thumbs up to the N&O for getting the significance of the story out there. Next time you get a chance, ask the Durham County Commissioners just how many pets in the county are actually registered and up-to-date on their rabies vaccines.

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