BOWDOINHAM — A rabid fox bit a dog in Bowdoin on Tuesday night about half an hour after a woman reported she and her dogs were attacked by a gray fox in Bowdoinham.

The Bowdoinham attack was reported at a home on Pond Road just after 9 p.m. Two dogs were bitten, the sheriff’s department said, and then 39-year-old Jennifer Herbert was bitten in the leg and buttocks as she attempted to get the dogs inside to safety.

Jennifer Herbert of Topsham shows where a gray fox was when it attacked two dogs before biting her at a Pond Road home in Bowdoinham on Tuesday night. The Times Record photo by Darcie Moore

Sheriff’s deputies, along with Cliff Daigle, Bowdoinham’s animal control officer, were still at the Pond Road home when they got another call at 9:37 p.m. from a resident on Route 138 in Bowdoin who had killed a fox after it bit a dog and tried to get inside the caller’s house.

The homeowner managed to close the door on the fox, pinning it, according to Chief Deputy Brett Strout with the sheriff’s department.

Daigle said the man’s son then grabbed an unloaded pistol and hit the fox, killing it.

The animal was taken to the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, where it tested positive for rabies. A disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, rabies is typically spread through a bite or scratch from a wild animal that has the virus. If left untreated, it can lead to death.

The homes are within about 500 feet of each other, Daigle estimated, so he believes it was the same fox. In both cases, the fox had porcupine quills stuck in it. Daigle said the fox smelled of skunk, and was likely rabid. Healthy foxes don’t approach porcupines or skunks.

Herbert was undergoing rabies treatment at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, a series of shots that will cost approximately $10,000. Daigle said the dogs have been checked by veterinarians.

Ivy Driscoll said the family’s two dogs, Irie and Whiskey, were outside on the back porch, one of them on a dog run. Both were looking down the stairs barking.

“I saw the fox – I didn’t know what it was, it looked like a dog to me – coming down the walkway getting ready to come up the stairs,” she said. “I panicked and started pulling on Whiskey’s run and yelling to Irie to come in.”

Holding the door open trying to get the dogs back inside, she got wrapped in the run and fell to the floor. She screamed, drawing her son, Nathan Driscoll, and his fiancée, Herbert.

Herbert tried to get Whiskey away from the fox while Nathan Driscoll got Irie into the house.

“That thing followed Jennifer back up the stairs, bit her in the rear and then proceeded to attack Whiskey again, and then bite Jennifer,” Ivy Driscoll said. “Her shoe was stuck in the door, and the (fox’s) head was in the door, trying to get in the house. … I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”

Driscoll said she recently purchased Whiskey in Jamaica, so he’s been in Maine for about a month. The dog just recently received a rabies shot so he must be quarantined at home for 4 months. Whiskey fought off the fox, saving Irie, a 9-year-old yellow lab, she said.


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