VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Great Neck Park resumed normal operations Wednesday. It had been closed to the public since the weekend after two people were attacked by a fox at the park.
Virginia Beach Animal Control is not taking any chances. On Monday, officers walked the grounds with loaded shot guns. “I would say it is probably the same fox for each one of these incidents,” said Animal Control Officer Doug Humphrey.
There have been three attacks, including two human attacks on Sunday. At 7:30 a.m. a man was attacked from behind while walking in the park. Then around noon, a city employee was attacked. Details of injuries have not been released, but 10 On Your Side has learned they are not considered life-threatening and the victims have received medical treatment.
Before those attacks, on Saturday night Susan Cox’s Australian Terrier, Rosie, confronted the fox while on Cox’s property. “We immediately started calling for her to come back to us, but she was in watch dog mode and was going to protect her property,” said Cox. “[Rosie] chased the fox away…luckily even though she was fast, the fox was faster. We were able to grab Rosie’s attention. I scooped her up, and my husband chased the fox away all in the time frame of about 90 seconds.”
Cox said the fox looked healthy, but it was making weird noises. According to Animal Control, “weird noises” are not the signs of a healthy animal.
Animal Control is trying desperately to find the fox, the right one, and to kill it for medical reasons. “We are assuming this fox had rabies and was not well…we don’t know for sure but the possibility is there,” said Humphrey.
Rosie got scratched up too, “a very slight break on her nose in the skin. We couldn’t even see her nose, but there were drops of blood that were transferring to a white towel…we’ve sent her away from here to be safe, until the fox is found,” said Cox.
After the second human attack on Sunday, hundreds watching baseball at Great Neck Park were told to leave the park area immediately. One of those was Brittany Layton Mitchell. “The most surprising thing was maybe one had attacked someone, but two? That would be more unusual, and that is why they had us leave so quickly. They just wanted to be cautious.”
People were turned away all day. One of them was Kory Miles who was turned away at the gate. “One incident is bad enough, but two is very scary…it does make me think twice about coming back to this park even if they find the fox because you don’t know what’s been bit, maybe a squirrel, something that you may not find out until later. It definitely makes you think twice.”
A supervisor told 10 On Your Side there hasn’t been a fox attack in the 77 acre park for at least 22 years. But now no one cares much about the 22 years, they’re just carrying about what has happened in the last 48 hours.
As of Wednesday, officials have still been unable to locate the fox. Stay with WAVY for any updates.