A fox bit two students at Rocky Plains Elementary School in Newton County on Wednesday, May 22, and according to Newton County Animal Control Director Teri Key-Hoosen, the animal hasn’t been caught.
Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations for Newton County Schools, said two 6-year-old boys were bitten while playing outside around noon. Approximately 50 kindergarten students were on the playground at the time.
Davis-Viniard said in a news release that a teacher was able to kick the fox and get the animal off the students and that the children were immediately taken off the playground.
Key-Hoosen said that when dispatch received the call, an animal control officer was sent immediately to the school. She said the animal fled into the woods, and a trap was set.
“The only thing trapped has been an opossum. We have not trapped a fox yet,” she said Thursday.
Key-Hoosen said it was possible that the fox was protecting its den nearby, and it could have bitten the students in defense of its young. She said animal control wouldn’t know if a fox was rabid unless its brain matter was tested at a state lab.
Key-Hoosen said both students were bitten on the calf, and that one student’s injuries were more severe than the other’s. The school nurse treated both bitten students at the school, and parents later transported them to a local hospital, Davis-Viniard said.
All outside activities at Rocky Plains were canceled Wednesday afternoon. Counselors spoke to students who were obviously frightened by the incident, Davis-Viniard said.
Rocky Plains Principal Miranda Jones did a school messenger call to notify all school parents of the incident immediately, and Newton County School Resource Officers were on scene to help with dismissal in the event the fox returned.
Key-Hoosen said that when humans move into wild animals’ habitat, animals don’t understand human boundaries.
“We must always be aware of our surroundings, especially if we live near wooded areas,” she said.
She recommended that people remove brush and wood piles near their homes; don’t throw out food scraps or grease that would attract wildlife; don’t leave pet food outside overnight; and vaccinate all pets for rabies.