A Fairhope woman has been attacked by a fox, and fought off the attack with scissors. The attack happened Tuesday night in the Country Woods neighborhood off of Highway 104.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to live, really. I thought I could have died,” said Jennings.
Alicia Jennings was walking to her car from a friend’s house. She was helping her elderly friend around her friend’s home in the Country Woods neighborhood.
“I was just going out to do the recycling, so I had the scissors in my hand,” said Jennings.
That’s when something caught her eye, and she thought it was her friend’s dog, Molly.
“The dog at first, yeah, I just saw it out of my peripheral vision and I saw something come up to me,” said Jennings. She continued, “he just started attacking me, attacking my feet.”
Jennings says she was terrified but started running. The wild animal kept chasing Jennings.
“I was running kind of up an incline, up into the garage, and that’s when I tripped and fell and landed on the ground. And his face, he was right here in front of me. And so I jabbed at him with the scissors,” said Jennings.
Those scissors are what finally got the fox to leave Jennings alone. She shared pictures of her bloodied hands and the scissors with News 5. The fox was hiding underneath the vehicle. She called 911, police arrived and killed the animal.
She and her friends’ neighbors say that was the third time it attacked on Tuesday. The fox attacked Jennings’ friend’s dog, and the next door neighbor.
“It came right at us, it attacked me and my dog,” said Robert Bilovesick, the neighbor.
Jennings is still shaken from the incident but is thankful she was able to get away.
“He just kept coming after me, he was just relentless. He was just fierce. I was fighting for my life, I was scared,” said Jennings.
Last year, 5 foxes tested positive for rabies in Baldwin County.
The animal was disposed of before being treated for rabies. Fairhope police released a statement saying the animal was euthanized by the responding officer for safety. They released a statement, saying in part:
“Efforts were then made to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health but were unsuccessful as it was after business hours. As our department believed there to be a two-hour time constraint and storage protocol that would not be met, the animal was disposed of.
Our department is currently working with consultant J.J. McCool of Wildlife Solutions to obtain the State’s recommendations for future incidents after hours.”
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Jennings has begun treatment for rabies.
The ADHP says, “If the animal that bites a person cannot found for rabies testing, the recommendation is for a person to receive treatment to prevent rabies. The treatment includes an immunoglobulin for immediate protection, followed by a series of vaccines over a two-week period.”
The rabies virus is transmitted by saliva. In general, rabies exposure requires direct contact with infected saliva, usually through a bite or a scratch, but other less common contact exposures with mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth) are also considered as potential exposures.
Area residents are advised to take the following precautions to avoid possible exposure to rabies:
· Do not allow pets to run loose; confine them within a fenced-in area or with a leash.
· Do not leave uneaten pet food or scraps near your residence.
· Do not illegally feed or keep wildlife as pets.
· Do not go near wildlife or domestic animals that are acting in a strange or unusual manner.
· Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior.
· Advise children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.
· A person who is bitten or scratched by an animal should wash wounds immediately with mild soap and water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention or contact the county health department immediately.
Alabama state law requires that dogs, cats and ferrets 12 weeks of age and older be current with rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccines are also available for horses and other livestock if recommended by a veterinarian. Vaccinating animals reduces the risk of rabies infection should an exposure occur; thus vaccinations help protect animals, as well as their owners and caretakers.