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Rabid fox attacks Fairhope golfer, worker

(IMG:WPMI) Rabid fox attacks Fairhope golfer, golf course worker

Authorities are warning Eastern Shore residents after a rabid fox attacked a golfer and a worker at the Rock Creek Golf Club.

Fairhope Police said they were notified of the diseased animal on Monday morning after a grounds crews worker was injured while trying to capture it.

One witness told NBC 15 News that he had seen the animal on the course a few weeks prior.

According to police, it started when one man was on the Rock Creek golf course Sunday afternoon.

Police said the man pulled up near Hole 4 around 2:30 p.m. and a fox attacked.

"When he stepped off of his cart, he was bitten by an animal described as a red fox. This morning, shortly after 8 a.m., the Rock Creek ground crew was out preparing for the day and they saw the fox," said Sgt. Sawyer.

Sgt. Sawyer said the crew began trying to contain the fox and a worker was also bitten on the leg.

Fairhope Animal Control officers rushed over and caught the animal. Police said it was then taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for testing.

"That animal tested positive for rabies. So we've been in touch with the two persons who have been bitten and made sure they know they have to go to their doctor and be treated for possible rabies exposure," Sgt. Sawyer said.

Experts say foxes are typically reclusive and are not normally seen during the daytime.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies begins with symptoms like fever and headaches but can progress into insomnia, anxiety, confusion and even paralysis, difficulty swallowing and agitation.

Jessika White, owner of the local dog training business Animal Aide, said it's extremely dangerous for people and animals.

"You'll see aggressive behaviors like them attacking things they wouldn't normally attack or getting close to things they normally wouldn't get close to," said White.

White said considering the fox had been out in the wild for some time, it's important for Eastern Shore residents to pay close attention to their pets' behavior.

"It's really important to make sure that all of your pets, cats and dogs and horses are all vaccinated for rabies. A bite can happen when you're not around, especially if you allow your animals to roam or be outside," White said.

NBC 15 News tried to contact the manager of the Rock Creek Golf Club but was told they were gone for the day.

Police encourage anyone who sees an animal who may have symptoms of rabies to contact animal control immediately.

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