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South Portland police kill fox that attacked 5 people

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South Portland police kill fox that attacked 5 people

SOUTH PORTLAND — A fox believed to have attacked five people in the Clark's Pond and Long Creek area was confirmed to have the rabies virus in test results released Wednesday.

Police Lt. Todd Bernard said five people known to have been in contact with the fox on Tuesday would be notified of the confirmation by the Maine Center for Disease Control.

In a span of about six hours Tuesday morning, three people were bitten and two more were attacked by the fox. The final attack was reported at a business at 210 Western Ave., where the animal chased an employee inside the building. The man was scratched on his hand by the fox, but he trapped the animal in the building foyer and called police.

Bernard said Animal Control Officer Corey Hamilton secured the fox with a noose, a "pole device used to secure dangerous dogs," before it was taken to the woods and shot by police.

The fox's remains were sent to Augusta for testing at the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory. In order to test for rabies, animals suspected of carrying the virus must be killed.

All five attacks were reported to police during a six-hour period Tuesday.

The first incident occurred at 6 a.m., when the fox reportedly jumped into a pickup truck and bit a man parked outside Home Depot in the Clark's Pond area.

Bernard said a jogger then told police who were investigating the first attack that he was also attacked on the Clark's Pond Trail, but was able to kick the fox away and was not harmed.

At 7 a.m., police received a call from a passerby who reported two people camping in the Long Creek area off Western Avenue were bitten by the fox. One of the victims was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment.

Police continue to ask anyone who sees a fox in the areas of Long Creek, Clark's Pond, the Maine Mall or Western Avenue to call 911 or 799-5511.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Updated July 31 to add confirmation of rabies in the fox.