ASHEBORO, N.C. -- "Neighborhood Watch" has a new meaning in an Asheboro community after a woman was bitten by a suspected rabid fox.
Randolph County Animal Control officials were in the neighborhood on Wednesday, warning neighbors and looking for the fox.
Cynthia Hall says she was in her backyard on Tuesday evening when she saw a gray fox. She immediately went back inside her house, and waited for the fox to go away. When she thought the coast was clear, she went back outside to water her plants. She was keeping her eyes on the area where she first spotted the fox but she says, the fox crept up right behind her and bit her ankle.
"It's scary, they're dangerous when they're mad," said Hall's neighbor, James Cagle.
"If he wasn't rabid, he'd be scared to death of you, he'd run from you."
Christian Duncan says he saw a fox behaving strangely in his backyard on Tuesday. He lives just a block from Hall.
"He was just watching us and we were watching him, it was really weird to see."
This is not the first suspected case of rabies in the Triad. On Saturday, a rabid fox bit a little boy in Jamestown. Last week, a woman in Davidson County was attacked by her cat. It tested positive for rabies.
Across the Triad, at least a dozen animals have been reported to have the disease.
Overaggressive, stumbling, and foaming of the mouth are warning signs of a rabid animal.
In Asheboro, neighbors are concerned, but on the lookout.
"As you can see, it already bit one lady, how many more people is it going to bite?," asked Duncan.
Randolph County health administrators are urging families to ensure their pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.
Homeowners are reminded to secure garbage in their containers, feed pets indoors or remove outdoor food bowls when the pet is finished eating and to close off crawl spaces.
People also are urged never to approach foxes or fox dens and never to touch or feed a fox or its pups.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Randolph County had no confirmed cases of fox rabies. Guilford County confirmed its second fox-caused rabies case Tuesday.
The health department said a fox that bit an adult Tuesday night might be a rabid animal. However, the health department has not yet confirmed the rabies virus through testing of the animal, because Animal Control has not yet found the animal.
The Randolph County Health Department wants anyone who sees an aggressive or sickly-looking fox to call Randolph County Animal Control at 336-683-8235 or call 911.