Counselor ‘ninja kicked’ rabid fox to protect kids

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A fox that attacked two people Wednesday afternoon in South Kingstown has been confirmed as rabid. Test results on the animal came back positive for rabies, the Department of Environmental Management confirmed for Eyewitness News Friday.

The fox, which traveled from Albro Lane, near Rt. 1/Old Tower Hill Road, to the YMCA on Broad Rock Road, attacked two people before it was tracked down and killed.

YMCA camp counselor Marisa Haggstrom was one of those attacked. She was sitting in a field with 10 of her campers when the fox approached.

“It looked like a healthy fox. It wasn’t foaming and it wasn’t dripping or scrawny or anything. It just looked like a normal fox,” she recalled. “I just immediately told the kids ‘start getting on the picnic table. Hurry up, climb up to the top.”

While she helped move the children to safety, the fox bit her on the ankle. “I knew when it was charging that it was coming right at us, and there were a few kids that were kind of in shock, they were just standing there, so we had to help them on the table,” said Haggstrom.

The fox ran off, but she kept the campers on the table to be sure. A fortunate decision, because it soon came back. “I feel like we locked eyes and it just ran at us and jumped on the table,” she explained. “I gave it a little push with my foot and it didn’t fall off the table right away, and then I just ninja kicked it and it went back into the woods.”

Haggstrom said all the other counselors soon sprinted to the scene “with golf clubs and bats and sticks.”

Environmental officials were able to find and kill the fox after it bit one other person, who along with Haggstrom will be fine after getting rabies shots. Haggstrom said she’s happy it’s her getting the shots though, rather than her campers.

If you came in contact with the rabid fox, you can contact South Kingstown Police Department at (401) 783-3321.

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