Fox spotted at Long Lots School likely had rabies
A fox, suspected of being rabid, was euthanized by a police officer Saturday after being spotted for the second time in two days on Maple Avenue North, a day after the animal was seen at Long Lots School.
A resident called police around 10:30 a.m. Saturday to report seeing a sick fox on his property. The town's animal control officer, after assessing the situation, called for backup from police headquarters.
The officer sent to the scene found the fox along a stone wall on the north side of the property. The officer "observed that the fox appeared sick (with mange) and was staggering while standing," according to a police report. As the animal was lying down, the officer shot it using a .410 shotgun and one shot of buckshot, the report states. There was a "safe back stop (an earthen rise and tree trunks) behind the fox" when this was done, police said.
"Care was taken to shoot the fox in the body so the head could be preserved for testing" for rabies, the report said.
The body of the fox was bagged, following protocol, and the remains taken to the Westport/Weston Health District in case officials there felt it should be tested.
The fox was believed to be the same one seen at the Long Lots Elementary School playground Friday around 1:49 p.m.
The athletic director at the school had reported that a "sick fox" was seen "roaming around the school."
Mark Cooper, health district director, said no testing was done on the animal's remains for rabies.
"There was no person or animal contact reported, so there was no need to test it," Cooper said Monday.
He said the fox was spotted "running through some neighborhoods" in that area, but "no one touched it" so "no one was at risk" if the animal was rabid.
Cooper said rabies is common in some animals, especially bats and raccoons, but this is the first fox suspected of being rabid in "quite some time."