A suspected rabid animal attacked humans in two separate incidents two weeks ago in Doswell. No further attacks have been reported.
Sgt. Chris Whitley of the Hanover Sheriff’s Office said traps were set after the attacks and remain set, but no animal has been caught. However, he noted, the rabies disease typically kills animals in seven to 10 days.
Whether the animal had the disease or not is known. The Doswell animal was believed to have rabies because it attacked without provocation. The specific species also has not been confirmed, though witnesses described the animal as a fox.
The first attack occurred Thursday, Feb. 7, in the 16000 block of North Washington Highway. A wild animal attacked a man, knocking him down. After fighting off the animal, the man received medical treatment for minor injuries.
The next day, about a mile away, two small children, ages 2 and 4, were standing near the open front door of a residence when the animal ran onto the front porch. The animal bit one child on the face and scratched the other’s arm as it entered the house. An adult managed to get the animal out of the house, and the children received medical treatment for their injuries.
Animal Control and the Sheriff’s Office searched the area and notified neighbors, but did not find the animal. No one else in Hanover has reported encountering a rabid animal since then.
All unusual animal behavior should be reported to Hanover Animal Control at (804) 365-6140. In the event of an attack or imminent danger, call 911.
In a statement following the two attacks, the Hanover Health Department supplied information on what to do if attacked by a potentially rabid animal. Rabies is a fatal disease, so seek immediate medical care. The wound should be treated with first aid, just like for any other injury. Wash all open wounds thoroughly with soap and plenty of water. Try to identify the animal before it runs off, but do not pick it up. If the animal must be killed, try to avoid damaging the head. The brain is needed to test for rabies. Do not kill other animals indiscriminately on the off chance they might be infected.
Report bites to the Health Department at (804) 365-4313.