Test confirms fox that bit Kiski Township boy had rabies
The last time Steve Peace dealt with a fox on his property, it was chasing his chickens. He shot and killed it.
On Monday morning, another fox attacked. This time, it went for and bit into his 7-year-old son, Blaze, just outside their Kiski Township home.
“That animal attacked a kid. That's amazing,” Peace said on Thursday. “I experienced a lot in my life. I never experienced anything like that.”
The family found out on Wednesday why the fox was so bold — it was rabid.
Because he shot and killed this fox inside his house, potentially exposing everyone to the animal's tainted saliva, Pearce, son Blaze, wife Michelle and daughter Grace, 11, all have begun receiving a series of rabies shots.
The Game Commission picked up the fox, spokesman Tom Fazi said. The state Department of Agriculture tested the animal, which came back positive for rabies, he said.
“Any time we get a report of a sick animal that has had human contact or contact with a confined pet, we will submit it for testing,” Fazi said.
Prior to this incident, 18 foxes had tested positive for rabies statewide this year; this is the first in Armstrong County, Fazi said.
Peace said it was around 10:30 a.m. Monday when Blaze went outside the family's house at Edmon and Blacks Hollow roads to retrieve a book bag from a truck. He had taken one step out the door and was on the porch when he saw a fox near the family's cat.
Blaze “said he thought it was going to eat the cat,” Peace said. “He hollered for the cat to run.”
The fox jumped at Blaze instead. The boy turned to run inside, and the fox bit him on the back of his left leg, latching on as he went indoors.
Peace said he was in the bathroom when he heard the commotion from the living room. He said the fox stayed on his son's leg until his wife, Michelle, kicked it off.
The fox then went on a rampage, shredding the family's couch. Peace, a hunter, said he retrieved a rifle and shot the fox dead as it tried to escape out a window.
“It was mean. It was definitely rabid,” Peace said. “If it was not rabid it would not have come within 100 feet of us, let alone just charge and attack like that. That was just insane.”
Blaze's wound was about four inches long and an inch deep; it took about 10 stitches at the hospital to close.
Peace said he suspects the fox that he shot a month ago chasing his chickens also was rabid.
“It wasn't afraid of us at all,” he said. “It chased the chickens to within 10 feet of us.”
Kiski Township police did not return calls for comment.
Fazi said the Game Commission does not have plans to do anything more as a result of the rabid fox.
“It's a pretty common wildlife disease. Folks who live in the country are already aware of that — they know when an animal is not acting healthy,” he said.
Fazi said residents should be vigilant and call the commission's Southwest Region office in Fairfield at 724-238-9523 if they see anything suspicious.
Peace said he's concerned that there could be more rabid foxes out there.
“If I shot two males, there's definitely two females. That's just life,” he said.
Peace said the rabies shots aren't painful, just inconvenient, but the family doesn't have a choice.
“It's not fun,” he said.
Staff writer Liz Hayes contributed to this report. Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Calm and quick Leechburg bank robber sought
- PixController honored by Audubon Society for Hays eagle nest camera
- Home invasion reported in Tarentum
- Harrison woman burned in trailer fire
- Harrison considers options for Pittsburgh Heritage Trail through township
- Cambodian students answer Oakmont group’s prayers
- Hyde Park Community Days brings neighbors together
- PennDOT response fails to satisfy New Kensington’s safety concerns about Route 366
- Tarentum man wants confiscated cash back so he can hire attorney
- Dogs helping kids become confident readers at Bon Air Elementary
- Lower Burrell officers recognized for ending theft ring