Animal control officials captured a fox in an Oak Street back yard on Thursday after three residents were attacked in the area. One victim says it wasn't the same fox that bit her.
Mary Ellen Nutting had been collecting vegetables from her backyard garden on Oak Street when she and her friend Ellen Godden saw the red fox.
The two women started running to get inside. But the fox kept pace with Nutting and clamped onto her leg.
“I turned around and it just latched right onto my ankle, and I just started beating it with this,” said Nutting, waving a steel watering wand on her Brockton porch Thursday afternoon.
The fox ultimately ran off after the attack about 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
But it left Nutting walking with crutches, for a large bite wound on her right ankle, and fearful to step into her back yard again.
“I’m just scared,” she said.
She is one of three people attacked by a fox in the Oak Street area this week.
Earlier Wednesday, just a few houses away from Nutting’s home, a fox attacked and bit Mary Seaver, 69, as she added mulch underneath bushes in her front yard on Oak Street.
Monday night, a fox grabbed onto 9-year-old Isabel Robbins’ inline skate on Martland Avene, but the fox did not break the skin.
“We’re obviously quite concerned,” said Mayor James E. Har rington, who on Wednesday night issued a reverse 911 call across the city, warning residents about the threat.
Thursday afternoon, Nutting used binoculars to peer through her living room window and spot the fox in her yard. She also listened to a hand-held police scanner to learn about other possible fox attacks in the city.
When Nutting spotted the fox in her back yard again about 3 p.m. Thursday, Brockton Animal Control Officer Tom DeChellis responded and worked his way around Nutting’s yard, filling fox holes with water from a nearby hose.
When a fox appeared shortly afterward, he opened fire, injuring it. He later captured the wounded fox and euthanized it.
The gunshots shook Nutting as she stood at her kitchen window holding a video camera.
“Four shots. Was it three or four shots? He saw him. It was a gray one,” she said about the fox.
But Nutting said the gray fox that officials captured isn’t the one that bit her. That fox was red, she said.
She is concerned the red fox is still a danger to her and other residents.
“I think that one is still hiding in the back yard somewhere,” Nutting said.
The fox attacks have shaken residents in the Oak Street area.
“That’s scary,” said Mary Beth Reed, 46, of nearby Snell Street, as she walked her chihuahua-terrier mix, Bella, near the Gilbert Walker Playground on Thursday. “I don’t want to get bit. I’m out of here.”
As she walked, Brockton Animal Control Officer John Kostka patrolled the Raymond Elementary School parking lot and playgrounds to warn people about the fox attacks.
“We’re just trying to make ourselves visible,” Kostka said. “It’s kind of like a waiting game. They’re sly like a fox, that’s why they call them that.”
Animal control officers earlier set up traps in Nadedge Armand’s back yard on Oak Street. She lives near Seaver, one of the victims.
“There were two traps, but they caught a racoon last night so now there’s only one (trap),” said Armand, 20.
Armand said she was scared on Wednesday, but her fear has subsided.
“The fox is probably already gone,” she said. “I stayed in the house yesterday but not now.”
Staff writer Elaine Allegrini contributed to this report. Maria Papadopoulos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.