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Fox Remains Test Positive for Rabies

Animal who bit two in borough over Christmas was rabid; police to call all residents to inform them of situation.

A fox who bit a nine-year old borough resident on Christmas Eve and a North Carolina man visiting relatives on Christmas Day was rabid.

Mayor Nelson Vaughan said test results of the fox's remains released today at about noon by a Trenton state lab showed the fox had rabies. 

"Unfortunately, this happened," Vaughan said. "And we take it very seriously to ensure there's no other wild animals in the borough."

He said the two victims are expected to make a full recovery. The North Carolina resident, who was attacked on Edgehill Avenue, has already traveled home and was at work today, Vaughan said, and the nine-year old—who was bit on Inwood Circle—has been resting and taking the proper medication to ensure further rabies-related complications do not arise.

Vaughan said the boy's mother called the experience a "horrible" one for her son.

"They're both taking the full treatments, and they started early enough, so they should be fine," Vaughan said of the two victims.

Borough officials, citing privacy concerns, have not released the names of the two people that were bitten.

Police are expected to make automated phone calls to all borough residents today to make sure they are aware of the situation.

"We are advising people that if they see any animals who are falling down, turning in circles, biting [themselves], convulsing, or exhibiting unprovoked aggressive behavior, they should avoid contact and notify their local police department immediately," a police department news release said.

The release also said officials from St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison have come to the borough to help identify and quarantine any animals suspected to be rabid.

Vaughan said the fox acted aggresively when it went on its mini-rampage—the fox ran right at a borough police officer who found the fox after it bit the North Carolina man. But police were able to shoot the animal before it acted again.

Inwood Circle and Edgehill Avenue are directly across Fairmount Avenue from one another, which means the fox crossed the relatively busy thoroughfare at some point during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Fairmount Cemetery is right near both locations, and Vaughan said the cemetery's manager had told him he had noticed rabbits he had seen in and around the cemetery's ground had recently started disappearing.

"There's no more rabbits left," he said.

He said the fox may have come up to town from the banks of the Passaic River, just below the cemetery.

"Normally, you don't even see a fox except from a distance," Vaughan said. "They're very, very shy animals."

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