Caroline Hairfield, John Kilner, Camille McArdle, Ashley Pudas, Faith Randal, Anthony Schendel and Heather Vocke
Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, Regulatory Services

Regulatory Services Director Noah Schuchman nominated the team for capturing a rabid fox that had bitten two residents:

“On Tuesday, Aug. 16, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control received a report from a woman visiting Lake Harriet that she had been bitten by a fox. On investigation, staff suspected that the fox was exhibiting symptoms consistent with rabies and began trying to catch it, patrolling the area and setting traps. At the same time, they worked with the victim to file a thorough report. Working with the Communications Department, a news release was issued to warn the public.

“The following morning at approximately 5:15 a.m., a second person was bitten near Lake Harriet. At approximately 8:15 a.m., officers from Minneapolis Animal Care and Control captured the animal and were able to humanely euthanize it before sending it to the State of Minnesota for rabies testing. Staff again worked with the victim to take a report and understand the situation.

“Throughout and from the first report, staff canvassed the area, patrolling and setting a trap. On one of these patrols during the second day, staff saw the fox in question and were able to get close enough to it to catch it with their standard catchpole, subduing it and bringing it back to the shelter for humane euthanization and testing for rabies. If not for this staff team, the fox would not have been caught and there would have been no way to test the animal for rabies, leaving the public and other animals at risk for exposure.

“The animal tested positive for rabies. If not for the tireless work done by MACC staff working as a team, additional members of the public, including pets and wildlife, would have been in danger of being bitten. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control staff do not typically or historically handle rabies cases (and the City of Minneapolis sees very few), so this was new territory for them and for the public.

“Additionally, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control staff do not typically deal with wildlife (unless it is picking up the remains of deceased wildlife) — that is usually done by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In this situation, given the clear and present danger to the public — particularly in an extremely high-traffic residential and recreational area — and the potential for transmission of rabies to other animals exacerbating the situation, staff spent extra time and energy to attempt to catch the animal.

“If they had not been successful, based on the two bite incidents in 24 hours, it is very likely there would have been additional people and animals exposed had Minneapolis Animal Care and Control staff not caught the fox.”

Published Nov 1, 2016



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