A woman was bitten twice by a rabid gray fox in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, prompting her daughter to use an ax and a shovel to try to kill the animal, according to Animal Control officials.
The woman, who lives on a farm in Blairstown, N.J., had gone outside to feed her cats when she was attacked, according to the New Jersey Herald.
Animal Control Officer Scott Hendricks told the outlet that the fox had already killed one cat when it went after the woman.
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“The woman had cat chow in her hand and threw it at the fox to deter it, but it attacked her and bit her twice on the leg before she made her way inside her house,” he said.
Her daughter heard the commotion and went outside. At first, she mistook the gray fox for a cat, after it went under the front porch, according to the Morristown Daily Record.
“The fox came out after her,” Hendricks told the outlet. “She had an ax, which she threw at it and missed. The fox went after the ax, then turned back at her.”
The second time around, the daughter reportedly used a shovel to hit the fox on the head. She “kind of knocked it out,” Hendricks said, and by then two men in a truck heard her calling for help.
“They stopped, the one guy got out, took the shovel and held the fox down until it was deceased,” Hendricks told the Daily Record. “He actually suffocated it.”
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The woman was taken to a nearby hospital. Hendricks arrived after the ambulance left and picked up the fox’s body.
He had to keep it refrigerated until Monday before he could take it to the Blairstown Animal Hospital to have the fox’s head removed so it could be sent to the Department of Health to be tested for rabies.
By Tuesday, Hendricks was told the fox had tested positive for the disease.
He called the woman and her daughter and thankfully she had reportedly already started rabies treatment at the hospital.
“If a person gets bit by a suspect animal, they have five days before they need to begin treatment,” Hendricks told the Daily Record. “We were right up against that five-day buffer.”
The woman had also received a tetanus shot, according to the New Jersey Herald. The outlet also reported she had received two of her four rabies shots by Wednesday.