Lisbon man kills rabid fox with meat cleaver

An 82-year-old Lisbon man says he was forced to kill a rabid fox last week when it attacked him in his kitchen. (WGME)

LISBON (WGME) -- An 82-year-old Lisbon man says he was forced to kill a rabid fox last week when it attacked him in his kitchen.

"I was doing my dishes, just getting them done, and I happened to look over and see a pair of ears to the left of me coming in the door," James Ross, a Lisbon native, said.

He says he keeps his front and back door open on hot days to help with air circulation, and says the fox must have walked in through the back door.

"Once I saw that it was a fox I was going to shoo it away, but that's when it jumped on me," Ross said.

He says the fox clung to his pants using it's claws and tried to bite him.

"I reached into my drawer and was going to pull out a knife, and instead I came out with a meat cleaver," Ross said.

He says he chopped the fox in the head and then called Lisbon Police.

"I dont like doing something like that to an animal or anything else it was just a matter of reaction," Ross said.

Lisbon police say this is the 4th call related to rabies they've had since last fall.

"Every now and then [rabies] will flare back up and then quiet back down. You might go 2-3 years with the occasional [incident], and as of right now, it seems to be flaring back up," Jeff Cooper, the Animal Control Officer for the Lisbon Police Department, said.

He says residents should stay away from all wild animals if they want to be safe.

"These animals come out of the woods, they don't make any noise--- just be aware of your surroundings. Don't feed the wildlife, don't feed the birds," Cooper said.

Ross says that he has a lifelong relationship with nature.

"I used to have a pet owl that would perch on my shoulder," Ross said.

He says that despite that connection, no one should mess with a rabid animal.

"Any animal that acts like that is a little bit dangerous... I dont wanna have rabies, and I'm sure he didn't appreciate having rabies," Ross said.

Lisbon police say they didn't test the fox's body for rabies, but say the actions are align with the classic signs for the disease.

Ross says he can't believe how many people have dealt with rabid animals in just the past couple months.

"This 95-year-old man in Brunswick took one out... another person also had to kill one, I don't know how old he was, but we got some old folks looking out for us," Ross said.

Lisbon police say they hope the current wave of outbreaks will die out on it's own.

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