Neighbors voice concerns about rabid fox to Brighton police, health officials

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. A rabid fox in Brighton was euthanized after biting six people, but neighbors still have concerns.

The Brighton Police Department is taking action and held a meeting Tuesday night to help people feel safe in their own backyards. Representatives from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Monroe County Health Department were also at Tuesday’s meeting with Brighton Police. They answered questions about what to do if you encounter wildlife

“I laid there and yelled, ‘Help, somebody please help me,’” resident Shirley Jacobson said.

Jacobson had no idea a short walk to her mailbox would end up with a fox bite to her ankle. She fell to the ground and hurt her arm.

“I was walking down my driveway when I was three-quarters of the way down the driveway when I felt an excruciating pain in my left ankle,” Jacobson said.

As her neighbor came to help, the fox ran away. It’s because of Jacobson and her neighbors that the Brighton PD along with DEC and the county health department hosted a meeting to prevent and control wildlife issues on homeowners’ properties. While the rabid fox was euthanized, there were babies and some fear they could also be carrying rabies.

“We are taking care of it,” Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said. “We are going to try to trap it. I got nothing and it’s been over a week and it bugs me every single day.”

The chief doesn’t want neighbors to think they are minimizing being bitten by a fox or that police are ignoring their concerns.

“We certainly don’t want to come across like that,” Catholdi said. “As the supervisor said, I feel terrible it happened. I know he feels terrible. We’ve been meeting with the team here for the last week and a half and coming up with a game plan looking at our procedures, look at our protocols on how we can do better.”

A doctor with Strong Hospital at Tuesday night’s meeting says if you are bitten, there is a one- to three-month period of developing rabies. During that time a series of shots can be given over a two-week period, which is 99% effective. Brighton PD will host a rabies clinic on Oct. 7.