UPDATE: Fox causing problems in North Augusta tests positive for rabies


NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirms a fox killed in North Augusta yesterday was rabid.

The animal was caught between Crestview Avenue and Lake Avenue in the Hammond Hills area of North Augusta. A family dog was exposed to the fox, and it is currently in quarantine as required by South Carolina law.

Neighbors had reported a fox acting strange in the neighborhood in the days prior to the animal’s capture. Most notably, approaching a family while in their garage and another family catching the fox on security camera acting strange.

Read more about the encounters from Hammond Hills neighbors below.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — South Carolina DNR says fox sightings are not uncommon this time of year, but what neighbors in Hammond Hills say is uncommon, how close and how brave these foxes are getting.

“My husband and my son came out and they had to throw chairs at it to get it to go away,” North Augusta resident, Julie Griffin said. “It wasn’t just going away because they were coming at it.”

Griffin says she’s seen foxes throughout the summer, but Sunday night, one was too close for comfort.

“All a sudden we turned around and my dog, my lab, had the fox pinned to the ground, that close to the house,” Griffin said.

And she says she isn’t the only one in Hammond Hills who has had a scary run in with a fox over the past few days.

Courtney Radtke of North Augusta shared her security camera footage with NewsChannel 6.

“The fox came into their backyard, came at the husband, was acting weird,” Griffin said describing Radtke’s security footage.

Radtke says the fox tried getting in her home and behaved strangely. And that strange behavior is what has neighbors so concerned.

“I walk around with a golf club because we’re afraid right now,” Griffin said. “So we’d like something to be done.”

If you see a fox, it’s advised that you clap and make loud noises to scare the animal from approaching people. However, rabid animals behave abnormally.

“A lot of it is just going to be uncharacteristic behavior,” veterinarian, Dr. Steven Knittel said. “A wild animal that normally would be wanting to stay away from people may be wandering up close acting like it’s tame, but it’s not tame it’s just sick.”

It is not known if the fox Radtke and Griffin saw is rabid, but Lt. Johnson of North Augusta Public Safety says it is extremely important to keep your animals up to date on the rabies vaccine.

South Carolina DNR was in the Hammond Hills neighborhood Monday and tell residents they will be upping their presence in the area. Neighbors say they want DNR to trap and test the fox for rabies.

“I think everybody I know in our cul-de-sac area are being very cautious and afraid to walk our dogs and let our children out,” Griffin said.

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