CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are urging the public to look out for a possibly rabid fox spotted in Cumberland County. The game commissions shared with abc27 that they got involved after it heard from two different veterinary clinics about a total of three dogs who encountered a fox. A person was also bitten.

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Each incident took place with 0.4 miles of each other in the Mechanicsburg area.

“It’s kind of coincidental that it’s these encounters – so many encounters within half a mile,” Tracie Young of Raven Ridge Wildlife Center said.

The game commission says it is not necessarily concerning to see a fox during the day, or uncommon to see a fox take interest in humans or animals from a distance.

“Animals that are supposed to be hibernating right now like groundhogs – I saw a groundhog out eating two days ago,” Young said. “So just because you might see a fox out during the day, there’s no cause for alarm.”

However, Young adds that a fox should not approach a human. “They’re shy animals, they will tend to run away.”

The officials say to keep an eye out for abnormal behavior, which can include:

  • aggressive actions for no apparent reasons (i.e. they act out without being threatened)
  • lethargic and very tame actions
  • staggering or cicrcling in one area
  • partial paralysis or uncontrollable salivation

Two key tips for people in the Mechanicsburg area include keeping the fox away. “Please don’t put any food out because the food will draw wildlife, and it could possibly draw this fox.”

However, if you do encounter it, “don’t try to be a hero and try to capture this animal because if it does have rabies, they’re very unpredictable.”

Keep in mind,t here is no way to know for sure if the fox is rabid unless it is tested after it dies. There is also a chance it is no longer a threat because it is already dead. Rabid animals act erratic and are most dangerous during the final week of their live.

If you see a fox acting abnormally, do not approach the animal or attempt to intervene. Call the Southcentral Regional Office at 814-643-1831. For those living in Hampden Township, Cumberland County, which is the main site of recent attacks, the game commission suggests keeping dogs leashed or inside a fenced area.

As of Thursday, Dec. 16, Amy Nabozny, Information and Education at the Pa. Game Commission, says the commission has not received any further calls on the fox. Nabozny adds it could be dead at this point.