Video Shows Woman Fighting Off Rabid Fox. "I Had No Choice But to Fight Back"
The fox kept coming back to bite again.
In a horrifying attack caught on camera, a woman was attacked by a rabid fox outside her home in Ithaca, New York, suffering bites and scratches to her hands and legs. She fought the fox off with the help of a neighbor but needed treatment for her injuries. Here's what happened to the woman and the fox.
The unnamed woman was on the phone in the front yard of her house when the fox made a beeline for her and suddenly bit her leg. The woman tried to fight the animal off but it wouldn't let go, viciously biting at her hands and legs again and again. The woman tried to throw the fox off, but it kept coming back to attack her. Keep reading to see the video.
A neighbor heard the commotion and came running to the rescue with a large stick, fighting off the fox which finally gave up and ran away. "My wife was attacked by a rabid fox this past July," her husband Paul Russo said in a Facebook post. "Our friend edited the security camera footage and made this educational video for us to post to alert everyone that this can happen to anyone."
"It was a beautiful animal and I didn't want to hurt it," the woman says. "Unfortunately, I had no choice but to fight back, because I couldn't get away. I thank God my neighbor showed up."
The fox returned to the scene of the crime and attacked yet another person before finally being killed. The body was then taken to a Cornell University lab, where it was confirmed the animal had rabies. According to the woman's cousin Ed Russo,who posted the video on Twitter, she was treated for her injuries immediately. "A cousin of mine was attacked by a rabid fox in Ithaca, NY. She's OK. But geez this video is crazy!" he captioned the video.
While a rabies infection can be prevented if treated in time, there is no treatment once the infection takes hold. "Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system," says the American Veterinary Medical Association. "The virus is secreted in saliva and is usually transmitted to people and animals by a bite from an infected animal. Less commonly, rabies can be transmitted when saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with an open cut on the skin or the eyes, nose, or mouth of a person or animal. Once the outward signs of the disease appear, rabies is nearly always fatal."
Foxes do not normally attack humans, experts say. "I have only ever heard of two cases in my 40 years of dealing with foxes, one of which turned out to be a German Shepherd and the other a cat," says urban wildlife expert John Bryant. "But it is always possible – there are thousands of three-month old cubs beginning to run around. They smell food and go through an open door but it is freakish that a fox should attack someone. Foxes are among the most amenable, least aggressive mammals you could share your environment with. It's very rare for a fox to be brave enough to face a cat."