WNYT.com

Rabid fox attacks Cohoes woman

Posted at: 03/01/2013 4:43 PM
Updated at: 03/01/2013 6:31 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

File PhotoCOHOES--When the police walk up to your front door, the news isn't usually good.  But NewsChannel 13 was there Friday in Cohoes when an officer arrived at Racquel Murray's house to inform her that the fox that attacked her had been captured and killed. 

"He was by the garbage can and just kinda walked by and jumped an bit me.  I fought him off," explains Murray of the early morning ordeal.

The fox bit Murray twice--once on the thigh and again on the arm.  It then ran towards the woods behind Lansing Park.  Police and the Albany County Health Department put the neighborhood on alert and a couple hours later a mailman spotted the fox and called police.  Officers cornered the animal and shot it so it could be taken in for rabies testing.

I grew up in the Adirondacks and I didn't have that (happen there)," laughs Murray.

Last year in Albany County there were 20 confirmed cases of rabid animals.  The Cohoes gray fox was autopsied and later declared positive for rabies. 

"This type of behavior for a fox or a nocturnal species, that runs and attacks a person... it's almost always gonna turn out to be rabid," explains Albany County epidemiologist Marcia Fabiano.

Because the odds were against Racquel, she started treatment prophylactically Friday morning.  It was a series of four shots, said to be no more painful than the flu vaccine, near the wound site. 

"The shots were not that bad. I thought it was gonna be a lot worse," added Murray.  "It's not a good way to start my day, or weekend!  But it's all good."

The Cohoes Police Department credited its "First Call" emergency notification program for helping to alert residents.  If you haven't signed up, Chief Heslin encourages all residents to do so.