Two people were attacked Wednesday in North Carolina after they approached a fox that later tested positive for rabies, according to animal control and media reports.
Guilford County Animal Control said a man and a woman were bitten on the arms and legs around 6:30 p.m. in Greensboro, WFMY reported. Both were taken to the hospital and given rabies shots.
The fox was killed with a sledgehammer before officers arrived, according to the TV station, and Animal Control took it for testing. The results came back positive for rabies on Friday.
WXII reported the incident happened in the 600 block of Coronado Drive, a largely residential area in west Greensboro.
The victims were outside when they “heard a fox whining near them,” according to the TV station.
At least four people were walking on a foot path when they encountered the fox and began recording a video, WGHP reported. They told the TV station the fox was “acting sweet and in need of assistance.”
That’s when the fox attacked, according to WGHP.
In a 911 call obtained by media outlets, a person can be heard saying two people were bitten and one “has blood all over.”
“I need you all to stay away from the fox,” the dispatcher responded, according to WGHP.
The caller then said someone was trying to hold the fox down, the TV station reported.
“I need you to not hold the fox down. We don’t want anyone else to get bit,” the dispatcher said. “If there’s a way to confine it and you can do it safely, but do not try to hold it down just because that’s another bite risk.”
According to WFMY, someone in the group then started hitting the fox with a sledgehammer.
“I know you said they were hitting the fox with the sledgehammer, but in order to test for rabies we do need to make sure the head of the fox was not severely damaged because that’s how, they need to be able to access its mouth,” the dispatcher said in response.
Animal control officers arrived shortly thereafter.
Raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats are the most common spreaders of rabies in the area, according to Guilford County Animal Control.
Anyone who is bitten or exposed to a rabid animal should wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. Animal Control said the rabies vaccine is successful when started ”soon after the bite or exposure.” Rabies can, however, be fatal if left untreated.
Animal Control recommends people avoid “strange and sick animals” and not “approach or play with wild animals of any kind.”
“Enjoy wildlife from a distance,” the county agency said.