CONYERS — A Rockdale County man killed a fox with a knife Monday night after it attacked a child who was visiting at his home.
Kenzie Bell said her daughter Avery was playing outside around 7 p.m. with the children of Jill and Brandon Timbermann at their home off Flat Shoals Road, between Fieldstone and Iris Drive, when the fox ran up and attacked Avery. She said her daughter was scratched on the left hand and elbow by the fox’s teeth.
Jill Timbermann said it happened so quickly that the adults couldn’t react fast enough.
“All the kids were playing and we were watching them, and it happened before our eyes,” Timbermann said. “We saw it happening but we couldn’t get there fast enough.”
Timberman said another man who was visiting held the fox down with his boot and her husband stabbed it with a knife.
Ciji Baker, shelter manager for Rockdale County Animal Care and Control, said post-exposure vaccine treatment was advised for the victim because the skin was broken on the child’s hand and arm.
Bell said her daughter was taken to Rockdale Medical Center by ambulance where she received the first of five rounds of rabies vaccine.
Baker said Animal Control removed the fox carcass, but that it won’t be possible to test it for rabies due to damage from the knife.
“The brain was damaged to the point that we were unable to test, so we can’t say if it has rabies or not,” Baker said.
Under normal circumstances, Baker said the animal would have been sent to the lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for rabies testing.
“With us not being able to test it, then we always err on the side of caution and have them start the post-exposure vaccines,” he said.
Timbermann said this is the second time this year a fox has behaved aggressively toward someone at their home. Less than two weeks ago Timbermann said their landlord had stopped by in the middle of the day.
“A fox came out from under his truck and attacked him on the leg,” Timbermann said. “It bit him four or five times on both legs. He had on really thick socks so it never broke the skin.”
That fox was shot but not sent for testing because no actual bite occurred.
Baker noted that rabies is just one explanation for unusual behavior in wild animals.
“If they are sick, cornered, scared or threatened in any way, they will respond,” he said. “Most of the time they will respond in running away, but occasionally we have situations like this where they don’t.”
He also said if they have young nearby they will sometimes behave aggressively.
Nonetheless, Baker advised residents not to approach any wild animal that is exhibiting unusual behavior. He also advised residents to make sure that their pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccines.