Contacts: Jeanne Curran, (207) 287-3156
Fox Killed at State Park Found to be Rabid
(July 8, 2011)
AUGUSTA, Maine – A fox killed Thursday at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth was found to be rabid after testing on Friday by the Maine State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory.
It is the second animal tested and found rabid this year in Cape Elizabeth, according to Corey Hamilton, South Portland animal control officer. That first rabid animal also was a fox, he said. It is the ninth animal tested and found rabid in Cumberland County this year, according to the state lab website. A total of 26 animals so far have been tested and found rabid in Maine.
The fox attacked and bit a 3-year-old boy and his mother at the park’s playground on Thursday afternoon. The child had tried to pet the fox, thinking it was a cat. The animal also attacked a park ranger, who wasn’t bitten by the animal.
Under emergency protocol, the state park was closed and evacuated by park staff until the fox was found and killed.
Hamilton described the animal as male gray fox, about 1½ years old and weighing 15 to 16 pounds.
The fox carcass was taken to the state lab Friday morning, with testing completed that afternoon. The results were reported to the Maine Department of Conservation, which oversees the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL).
State Epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears, of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reminds Maine residents to avoid contact with wild animals and to make sure their pets are up to date on rabies vaccination.
“By avoiding contact with wild animals and maintaining pet vaccinations, we can prevent the spread of rabies,” Sears said. “Maine law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated because they often have contact with animals at high risk for rabies.”
“It was very unfortunate that the child and mother were bitten and we wish them a speedy recovery,” Will Harris, BPL director, said Friday afternoon. “We hope our visitors will continue to enjoy our state parks, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure they have a positive experience. Our visitors also should protect themselves by staying back and observing, rather than approaching wildlife.”
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