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Pennsylvania Dogs Save Guardian From Rabid Fox

Great news but why was Gus tethered on the front porch? Vicki, Don't you want to rethink that tethering stuff in the future? Seems that...

Joy  |  Jan 20th 2007


Vicki Kowalski with Gabby and Maddy.jpg

Great news but why was Gus tethered on the front porch? Vicki, Don’t you want to rethink that tethering stuff in the future? Seems that all three dogs have earned a place of respect in your home, don’t you think?.

This news was published in the Post-Gazette.com.

A rabid fox wreaks havoc until 2 pet dogs kill it in dining room

By Jim McKinnon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A rabid fox terrorized two New Kensington women at their homes Saturday afternoon before pet dogs at one of the residences turned on the wild animal, killing it.

Lillian Pfeifer of Greenbriar Avenue, the first woman to encounter the animal, said she was “scared out of my mind” and “shaking for an hour” after the attack.

“This was not a normal-behaving animal,” said Mrs. Pfeifer, a former farm girl familiar with many animals, tame and otherwise.

“Foxes are shy and they’re not supposed to be attacking you. My only thought was to keep it as far away as possible.”

Mrs. Pfeifer said she had been returning bowls to her next-door neighbor when the fox tried to crash through the storm door at that house. She said she waited until it seemed the coast was clear before trying to go home.

When she stepped outside and inched toward her patio, the fox lunged at her. She said she used a mop to fight him off and continued backing toward her own property.

But, she said, before she reached her back door, the fox latched onto the cuff of her pants and chomped into the sneakers she was wearing.

Mrs. Pfeifer kept swinging the mop, thumping and bopping the fox.

“It kept lunging at the mop and I was backing into the back door. Then it was lunging on my back door trying to get at me,” she said.

Once inside her home, Mrs. Pfeifer called 911, the state Department of Health and other neighbors to warn them about the attacking animal.

Minutes after Mrs. Pfeifer foiled the fox attack, another neighbor’s pet dogs four houses away were fighting off the intruder. The fox apparently gained entry at Vicki Kowalski’s house through a doggie door.

Ms. Kowalski said she was just finishing a shower when she heard the commotion in her dining room. She peeked in the room and saw a fight between an indistinguishable animal and two of her pets — Gabby, a 4-year-old black Labrador retriever mix, and Maddy, an otherwise mild-mannered and friendly retriever, who is 7.

Surprisingly, Ms. Kowalski said, Maddy was doing most of the fighting as the owner retreated to safety.

“I went back down the hall and shut the bedroom door and kept my fingers crossed,” Ms. Kowalski said. “I didn’t want to put myself in any kind of danger.”

Representatives of the Pennsylvania Game Commission retrieved the fox carcass, which they examined. The state Department of Agriculture determined it was rabid.

Gabby, Maddy and Ms. Kowalski’s third dog, Gus, a 6-year-old German shepherd mix, were examined by a veterinarian for bites and scratches. The pets all have had rabies shots, but their owner got booster shots for them.

Gus did not participate in the rescue. He had been tethered on the front porch of the Kowalski home. He was banging on the door, anxious to get in on the action, Ms. Kowalski said.

Both women said they were glad the weather was bad on Saturday, because on a good day, other pets and children and their parents walk and play along Greenbriar. No one was out at the time the fox showed up.

Her dogs, Ms. Kowalski said, have earned special treats.

“They’re still waiting on their steaks,” she said of the dogs she now calls heroes.

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