West End woman recounts fox attack

Published: May. 14, 2015 at 5:27 PM EDT|Updated: May. 15, 2015 at 9:53 AM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Police are on high alert in Henrico after a fox bit a West End woman and ran away.

The fox attacked Pam Hope and her dog, also named Hope, Thursday morning while she was gardening at her home on the 4900 block of Penick Road. 
"I looked up, and there was a fox chasing my dog," said Hope.
Hope grabbed a rake next to her to fend the fox off, but it didn't work. The fox bit her dog a couple times, bit her in the knee, and then ran back into the woods, out of sight. Hope went to the hospital and got five rabies shots while her neighbor called animal control.
"I would hate to come across something like that," said neighbor, Jen Fisher.
Fisher, just a few doors down, was out in her yard and didn't even know about the loose animal.

"That's definitely a scary thing to have in your neighborhood," said Fisher.
The dog, Hope, was bit twice. She's doing fine now, but that's because she has up-to-date rabies vaccinations-- something Department of Health's rabies expert, Julie Murphy, says is crucial.  

"Vaccinating domestic animals like dogs and cats helps create a barrier between them and wildlife, which is where most of rabies in Virginia is found," said Murphy.
Murphy says rabies are naturally found in a lot of Virginia wildlife like raccoons, skunks, and foxes, but it can affect any mammals, which includes people. She says the disease can cause inflammation of the brain, and is almost always fatal. Stay away from wildlife, and if you are bitten, do what Hope did: call animal control and see a doctor.

There is also a report of a fox attacking a cat in the area.

Residents are warned to exercise caution until the fox is captured. Call Henrico Police Communications at 501-5000 if you see the fox.

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