On Wednesday afternoon, my son was driving down June St. in Auburn when an animal under a parked car caught his eye. As he came to a stop, a red fox got up and walked towards Robert Ave. where our house is. The animal looked sick and he told me minutes later. After I looked from a safe distance at this slow moving fox that was drooling profusely, I called 911.
In the few minutes it took officers to arrive, 2 cars stopped to view this animal, and one spent significant time next to this sick animal. The fact that the fox did not run away should have been enough of a reason to suspect the animal was rabid.
The Police Officers forced the fox to the side of the road and then shot it once to end its suffering and prevent the spread of rabies to any other animals. This poor red fox could obviously not run and certainly had no fight left in it, but it likely could still bite. There is no cure for rabies once symptoms develop.
Animal Control Officer Aimee Contois arrived on the scene and bagged the fox for disposal. She said the animal would not be examined for rabies since there was no human or animal exposure reported. Wildlife officials know there are rabid animals in the Auburn area, so an examination would only confirm what was already pretty obvious. Hypersalivation is a symptom of rabies and death typically occurs within days, but a fox could infect others in that time.
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention states, “The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.” Most reported cases involve raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Coyotes are also known to carry the virus.
While it is a sad when a wild animal has to be killed like this, it is the right thing to do. The fox was beautiful with nice fur and no other obvious problems, but rabies dictates this response. I wonder how many other people called 911? See something, say something.