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Fox bites elderly man in Bath just three days into 2020; city saw 16 positive rabies tests in 2019

The man tried fending off the fox with his cane but fell over, allowing the fox to bite him in the face.

BATH, Maine — Bath police said on Friday, Jan. 3, a rabid fox encountered two separate dogs and an elderly man in the city. The man was bitten in the face.

Bath had 16 positive rabies test results in 2019.

Police said the first two incidents on Friday, Jan. 3, occurred on Rose St. and Middle St. 

In both instances, the fox aggressively approached a dog. Both dogs' owners brought them to their veterinarian's office for rabies boosters. Police searched the area and had no luck finding the fox.

Around 5 p.m the same day, a fox, presumed to be the same one as the earlier dog exposures, approached an 88-year-old man in his yard. The man tried fending off the fox with his cane but fell over, allowing the fox to bite him in the face.

The man was able to grab the fox and hold onto it until a passerby helped him secure the animal. A Bath police officer was then able to shoot and kill the fox.

The man was treated for rabies exposure at Midcoast Hospital and released later that evening.

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A Bath Animal Control officer brought the fox to the Health and Environmental Testing Lab to be tested for rabies. The results of the test came back positive for rabies.

According to the Bath Police Department, the city had 16 positive rabies test results in 2019, not all of these were from animal attacks, but include any possible exposure incidents to pets or people by different types of wildlife, such as foxes, racoons, skunks, and bats. 

The department said it has started to see less calls for service involving possibly rabid animals as the winter progresses and this was the first such event in three weeks.

The department said it continues to urge residents to use caution when they encounter wildlife, try to prevent outdoor food sources in their neighborhoods, such as compost piles or accessible garbage, keep their pets vaccinated, and call police if they see suspicious-acting animals.

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