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Posted April 23, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Possible rabid animal attacks reported in Winchester area


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WINCHESTER - At least three incidents of possible rabid animal attacks have been reported to Animal Control this month, according to a press release issued today by Winchester police.

On Wednesday, a woman reported that she and a child had been attacked by a red fox on Battery Drive.

"The female reported that after leaving a business on Battery Drive with a male child that she was caring for, a red fox came out from underneath a vehicle and bit the child's shoe. When the female intervened, the fox bit the female several times. The female then drove to seek treatment at the Winchester Medical Center, " the release states.

"The parent of the child decided she would seek treatment the following day at the child's pediatrician, since the fox bite did not penetrate the child's skin. The female described the fox as having a mangy coat, wet and bloody mouth."

Animal Control has set traps in the Battery Drive area where the incident occurred. Area neighbors reported seeing the fox under cars througout the day.

On Sunday, a homeowner in the 100 block of Linden Drive reported her dog had been attacked by a groundhog, and that when she tried to scare the animal away, it charged at her.

"The homeowner, who was not bitten, went back into her residence and called the dog inside. The groundhog was not on the property when Animal Control arrived. Several traps have been set in the area in an attempt to catch the groundhog. The homeowner's dog was up to date on his rabies vaccination; however, the 45-day hold was placed on the dog. It cannot be confirmed that the groundhog is rabid until the groundhog has been caught," the release states.

On April 15, a homeowner in the 700 block of Merriman's Lane reported that his dog was attacked by a raccoon.

"During the attack, the homeowner was able to kill the raccoon. The Virginia Department of Health confirmed the raccoon was infected with rabies. The homeowner's dog was up to date on his rabies vaccination; however, the Virginia Department of Health requires a 45-day hold on the dog, which is monitored by the Department of Health," the release states.

Winchester police are asking area residents to report any wildlife or animals that exhibit signs of rabies, or if a bat enters a residence. Call police at 540-662-4131.

Signs of rabies include dingy or mangy coat, wounded appearance, bleeding or wet mouth, and/or aggressive or confused actions.

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