Beacon Man Fights Off Rabid Fox With a Loaf of Bread

BEACON – A Beacon man fended off a rabid fox with a loaf of bread Wednesday, after it ran from under his pickup truck and attacked him.

Gary Kemp had just arrived at his home in the Oak Meadows mobile home park when the fox charged at his leg.

“The fox was hiding underneath the Bronco, and he came out and charged at me, and started making this weeping noise as he was charging,” Kemp said.

The gray fox attacked his legs, and Kemp, who was carrying a loaf of sliced bread, was able to defend himself and chase the fox away.

His neighbor’s dogs chased the animal back down the hill.

“I thought it was coming back to get me again,” Kemp said. “It started coming back down after me, but ran back up the road” in another direction.

Kemp said he went into his home and applied rubbing alcohol and peroxide on the bite marks and notified animal control personnel.

While Kemp was showering, the fox went for a neighbor, who used a blacktop rake to hit it, and then had to run it over with a Lincoln Continental. A police officer was given custody of the dead animal.

The fox tested positive for rabies by the Dutchess County Department of Health.

“Every now and then, there’s people who have this kind of experience, and you don’t want other people to have it, too,” said Richard Robbins, associate public health sanitarian.

The animals “get possessed by the (rabies) virus and they have no interest but biting and passing it on,” he said.

Robbins said Kemp employed “absolutely proper first aid” by taking a shower to wash off saliva traces from the fox. He said it’s not a bad idea to use some alcohol or peroxide where contact may have occurred, though physical scrubbing is most effective.

This is the third rabid fox case the county Department of Health has handled since September.

Kemp’s home surveillance system taped the attack. The fox runs up, bread flies and, as quickly as the fox pounces, it speeds off. The video is available on the Journal Web site.

“I was standing there in shock because I didn’t know what this thing was,” Kemp said. “I was just saying to myself, this is something very unusal.”

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