for immediate release
July 17, 2001

N E W S   R E L E A S E

Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are warning residents of the Paradise Point area of Shalimar to be alert for aggressive wild foxes that may be rabid. In an incident under investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the FWCC, and the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), two people were attacked by foxes today (Tuesday) in their own back yards.

The first victim was a 71 year old woman, who was attacked by a fox that pounced upon her from bushes behind her home at about 10:00 o'clock this morning. Minutes later, a fox entered a house while chasing a dog. In that incident, the homeowner chased the fox away, but was attacked from behind and bitten on the leg by a second fox.

Deputy Andrew Wheatley, responding to the area, was charged by one of the foxes. Deputy Wheatley used multiple shots of his OC pepper spray to fend off the attack. A third resident of the neighborhood, Drew Pinkerton, shot and killed both of the foxes as he was being attacked. Pinkerton's dog was also attacked.

The two injured persons have been treated and released from Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. PAWS removed the bodies of two foxes for rabies testing.

In addition to the two foxes known to have attacked people and dogs today, at least three other foxes were seen in the area. FWCC Officers will be monitoring the area for additional foxes.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer (850) 651-7420

-or- Lt. Stan Kirkland, Florida FWCC (850) 265-3676

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