Fox slain in Rock Hill yard tests positive for rabies

For the second time in a week, an animal has tested positive for rabies in York County, state health officials say.

The animal, a fox, was discovered Wednesday in north Rock Hill at the home of a Rock Hill couple who asked not to be named.

According to the couple, around 3 p.m. and while they were away, their next-door neighbor heard a sickly and whining noise outside. The neighbor went outside to find a red fox scurrying against the couple's fence. The couple's dog was on the other side of the fence, playing with the fox, the wife said.

The neighbor came back with a shotgun and shot the fox.

When the couple came home, the husband was notified of the dead fox and called animal control.

The fox tested positive for rabies Thursday, said Cathy Phillips, environmental health manager with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"The fox must have come from the woods by the home," Phillips said.

The home is located in a subdivision and wild animals don't come out until dark, the wife said.

"It just shows how sick the fox was," she said. "The fox was trying to dig so that he could get under the fence, but obviously was too weak."

Phillips said the dog has been given preventive shots and has to be quarantined for 45 days.

The wife is optimistic, she said.

"We are just taking precautionary measures," she said. "We are confident that she will be fine."

It's not known whether the fox made any contact with the dog.

Last week, two men were placed under a doctor's care when a calf they were tending tested positive for rabies.

Rabies can be transmitted through biting, scratching, or rubbing any other animal with rabies.

This is the sixth confirmed rabid animal in York County in 2007. There were four rabid animals confirmed in York County in 2006, according to DHEC.