CBS2 Exclusive: Putnam County Mother Attacked By Rabid Fox

MAHOPAC, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A wild animal sighting in the suburbs was much more than meets the eye.

A Putnam County mother says a snarling fox bit her, scratched her, and then went after her children.

Claws and fangs tearing at her flesh, Merlin Padilla’s life flashed before her eyes on her kitchen floor as her two young children watched from a closed door just a few feet away as their mother was attacked by a gray fox.

“There was a lot of bleeding,” she exclusively tells CBS2’s Marc Liverman. “A lot of bleeding.”

Padilla lives on Agor Lane in Mahopac, and says she came home Saturday to find the fox standing on her porch glaring at her and baring its teeth.

“He looked face to face and he opened his mouth,” she said. “Yeah fangs like this, but bigger.”

Padilla ran into her home, but the fox gave chase. Her five-year-old son was just feet away from the wild animal.

“He said, ‘mommy, what happened?’ and I said, ‘go inside the room, take the baby, and close the door’,” Padilla said.

As soon as the kids were inside of the bedroom, the fox started clawing at the door. That’s when Padilla says she put a chair between her and the fox and pushed against it.

The fox ran all the way downstairs, giving her a chance to get into the room with her kids before slamming the door.

With the fox now trapped inside her home, Padilla raced to call 911 and within minutes a wildlife control expert was on scene and had the fox trapped and euthanized.

Padilla was rushed to the hospital and treated for rabies as a precaution and given fifteen stitches.

“I have a lot of pain,” she said.

Her quick actions may have saved her children’s lives.

“Thank God my boy, my girl is okay,” she said.

The Putnam County Health Department said the fox that attacked Padilla tested positive for rabies on Tuesday.

Associate Sanitarian Marianne Burdick said Monday if it if were to test positive, it will be the second confirmed rabid fox in less than a week in the same area.

“Based on this animal being so aggressive and the fact that we had a positive fox tested at the laboratory last week, it’s a very good chance that this fox will come back positive for rabies as well,” Burdick said.

If it’s possible and safe, Burdick says you’d always want to try and keep the animal in a closed off area.

If you get bitten, call the county health department right away since rabies can be deadly if left untreated.

The Putnam County Health Department says there have already been at least seven confirmed cases of rabies this year.

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