Health officials urge caution after fox bites Pittsfield resident

PITTSFIELD — City health officials are urging residents to use caution following reports that a fox bit a local resident over the weekend.

The Pittsfield Health Department reported Monday the unidentified person was bitten in the vicinity of Wahconah Street and Dower Square.

A fox was captured, but whether it was rabid is unknown, as is the condition of the bite victim.

Health officials said caution should be taken by observing for wild animals displaying behavior such as lack of fear, disorientation, aggression or poor physical condition. Fox sightings during daylight hours are possible and anyone observing an animal being aggressive or disoriented behavior should contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9702.

To avoid unintentional contact with wildlife, local health and public safety officials say:

- Do not leave pets unattended outdoors.

- Homeowners/landlords should make sure their properties don't attract foxes or other wildlife.

- Secure garbage in durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids and keep inside when possible.

- Put out trash the morning of a scheduled pick up — not the previous night. Keep compost in secure and vented containers.

- Use bird feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts many small mammals that foxes prey upon. Remove feeders if foxes are regularly seen around the yard.

The weekend fox attack is the second in five years in Pittsfield. In the spring of 2012, two city residents required treatment for rabies following a string of fox bites in the Williams Street neighborhood. One of the victims, an 84-year-old woman, nearly lost a finger, telling authorities she never saw the fox coming. It also bit her ankle.


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