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Sue Bush
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Clarksburg Fox Attack

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, December 08, 2005

A fox similar to this one attacked three times in less than 24 hours in Clarksburg.
Clarksburg – Town police Chief Michael Williams shot and killed a fox on Dec. 8 after the animal attacked a woman attempting to enter the town’s Senior Center and then waged a battle with town Highway Department workers at the town garage.

The fox body was taken to the Greylock Animal Hospital in North Adams, where it will be tested for rabies and other health conditions, Williams said during a Dec. 8 afternoon interview. State laboratories will be involved with the testing, Williams said.

Dec. 7 Attack

The fox first appeared at the town highway garage on Middle Road on Dec. 7, said highway department foreman Jeff Goodell. Goodell said that the fox attacked a worker at the garage and tried to gain entry into the building but was chased off. No one was bitten by the fox during the attack, Goodell said.

The fox was acting in an unusually aggressive manner, Goodell said.

“I threw a shovel at it, and it attacked the shovel,” Goodell said.

Goodell said the Dec. 7 incident was immediately reported to police and Animal Control Officer Christopher Dix. Dix searched the area around the town garage that day but did not find the fox.

Fox Latches On

But during the morning of Dec. 8, town resident Barbara King was walking through the Senior Center parking lot toward the building when the fox suddenly appeared and clamped onto her pants’ leg with its’ teeth. King and Leona Knox, who was also in the parking lot, used pocketbooks and a cane to defend King from the fox. The fox finally let go of King’s pants, and headed to the town garage, Williams said.

Neither King nor Knox was injured by the fox, but the fox did leave puncture marks in King’s slacks, Williams said. Police were called immediately after King was attacked, he said.

"It Just Kept Coming At Us"

Goodell and two town highway employees were outside the garage doing some work when one of the workers noticed the fox approaching, Goodell said.

“The guys were yelling ‘here it comes, here it comes,’ but at first I thought they were playing around,” Goodell said. “Then I felt something down at my feet and the fox was biting at my boot.”

Goodell was able to get the fox off of his boot but the animal kept chasing him and the workers.

“I gave it a boot and it circled around and came at me again,” Goodell said. “It just kept coming at us. It was kind of scary…it was different, anyway.”

Williams was told that the fox had turned up at the highway garage, which is within a few hundred yards of the Senior Center. Williams traveled to the garage and shot the fox. The shooting was necessary because the fox had attacked humans without any apparent provocation three times in less than 24 hours, Williams said.

Anyone who encounters an animal that appears aggressive, ill, or behaving in an unusual manner should avoid contact with the animal and call police immediately, Williams said.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.

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