Four fox-related reports over weekend in rabies-weary town
(Reprinted from above link)
BATH — Bath Police Department dealt with four fox-related complaints over the weekend in a community burdened by a year of repeated rabid animal attacks. While no one was bitten or scratched, three of the animals will be tested for rabies as a precaution.
Two foxes were found dead, one along Washington Street by Edwards Court and on High Street near Beacon Street. Bath Deputy Police Chief Andrew Booth said healthy foxes typically aren’t hit by cars, so those two animals will be tested for rabies.
Sunday, a fox was attacking a stick near Bath Iron Works on Washington Street near South Street. The fox had porcupine quills embedded in its face and smelled like a skunk, leading police to assume the animal is rabid. The animal was captured and killed so it can be tested.
Monday morning, a person was walking their dog near Hyde School when a fox chased them for a short distance before running into the woods. Booth said that fox is still on the loose.
Bath police remind residents that rabies is still prevalent in the area, “and with the warmer weather, we may see increased animal-people encounters.”
Anyone who sees an animal acting strangely should call police so officers can locate the animal.
“We also remind pet owners to vaccinate their pets and maintain control of them when outside to prevent pet-wildlife interactions, if possible,” a press release states.
Booth said Bath police have had animal complaints but haven’t had any suspected rabid fox calls since January. No foxes from Bath have tested positive this year since a fox in early January attacked an 88-year-old Bath man.
In 2019, Bath received 72 suspicious animal calls, 26 sick animals were killed by officers or citizens, and 16 animals tested positive for rabies, according to the city. Of the 18 fox attacks on people or pets, 11 attacks resulted in a person being bitten or scratched.
Bath city councilors voted last week to move forward with plans to partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to trap species known to carry rabies, such as gray and red foxes, skunks and raccoons. Ten nonlethal traps will be set in Bath and any fox, skunk or raccoon caught in the traps will be euthanized and their brain tissue tested for rabies by the USDA.
Booth said he expects the trapping will start later this month and wrap up by the end of March.
The trapping will take place on city-owned property and private property. Police asked residents to keep ID tags on their pets in the event they enter one of the traps.
“It would be best to keep your cats inside until the end of month, but we understand if that is difficult,” police said. “Any dogs or cats caught in the humane box-type traps will be turned over to the Bath animal control officer. They will be checked for ID tags and scanned for microchips first, pictures posted here on the Police Department Facebook page as we want to get them back to their owners quickly.”
Any pets that are not claimed will be transported to the Midcoast Humane Society.