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Jul 30, 2013 4:01 PM by Eric Ross

Police kill fox suspected in S. Portland attacks

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Police on Tuesday shot and killed what's believed to be a rabid fox suspected of attacking five people.

The attacks began at 6 a.m., when a man reported that a gray fox jumped into his pickup truck through a window and bit him on the arm in a Home Depot parking lot, police Lt. Todd Bernard said.

Officers, while investigating that attack, were approached by a jogger who told them he was attacked but kicked the fox away without being bitten. A man and a woman who were camping in nearby woods then reported that they'd been bitten.

Shortly before noon, a man called police to report that a fox had scratched him before chasing him into an office building. The man trapped the fox in a foyer in the building entrance. Police then secured the fox, took it to a wooded area and shot it, Bernard said.

The fox's remains have been taken to the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory in Augusta for testing, Bernard said. All the people who were bitten or scratched received medical attention, he said.

Rabies is a viral infection that can be spread through animal saliva and is generally fatal if untreated.

Bernard advised people to remain alert and report any fox sightings in the area of the attacks, a section of South Portland that includes the Maine Mall, office buildings, strip malls and retail stores.

He said he'd heard of past incidents in which a sick fox attacked somebody.

"But certainly not five attacks," he said.

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