Man fights off rabid fox attacking dog

UNIONVILLE, Pa. - November 15, 2011

Action News spoke to a man from Unionville who says he was exposed to rabies after he was attacked by a fox.

Christopher Payne says he had no choice but to kick and then club a fox with a big piece of wood after it attacked one of his dogs and then went after him.

The animal's brain was later analyzed, determining the fox was indeed infected with rabies.

Christopher says even though he was not bitten, he was exposed to the animal's saliva and blood, which is all it takes for rabies to enter the body through something like a cut on your hand or a sore in your mouth.

"When I kicked it, I knew I felt the saliva on me, but also, because the dog was bit, I rubbed my fingers across her belly to see what her injuries were and I had it on my hands," Payne said.

Local officials say Chester County does have the highest number of reported rabies cases in Pennsylvania, and with that, one of the highest rates of rabid animals attacking people.

But Betsy Walls from the county health department says that's probably because Chester County is very proactive about testing potential cases, not because of a higher population of rabid animals.

"We test many more animals that are negative than are positive, so that if it's positive, you can have the appropriate prophylactics to prevent the disease because it's fatal," Walls said.

Meantime, Chris Payne says his dog was up on his rabies vaccinations and the medical protocol he started himself has him expecting to receive a clean bill of health during his next trip to the doctor.

Health officials urge everyone to make sure your pets are inoculated against rabies. They say the vaccinations are inexpensive and simple and they say not doing it is simply not worth the risk.

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