A SECOND dog has been attacked by a fox in a village where a German Shepherd dog was fatally injured last month.
The attacks which have taken place in daylight hours have alarmed the villagers of Hilton, Cambridgeshire, and dumfounded wildlife experts who point out that foxes are normally loathe to confront any animal capable of putting up a fight.
As reported previously, Rob Bowes, 38, was cleaning his car outside his house at about 5pm one day in mid March while his dog Beth, a docile, friendly, three-year-old GSD was lying peacefully on the front lawn nearby.
"Suddenly this fox appeared and Beth went chasing after it," said Mr Bowes. "When they got to the corner, the fox stopped and the next thing I knew, Beth was on the ground. Her insides had literally been ripped out by the fox."
Despite horrendous injuries, Beth survived long enough to be taken to the vet, but died under anaesthetic.
In the latest incident, which occurred a few hundred yards from the scene of the first attack, the fox repeatedly went for a three-year-old, male Labrador playing in the garden of its home on Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately, the snarling animal was unable to reach the dog through a strong wire mesh fence.
Villagers were taking comfort yesterday from the fact that the latest attack - assuming it involved the same fox - must mean that the animal was not rabid. The ’furious' stage of the disease lasts a maximum of four days and, between two and four days after that, the animal dies of respiratory paralysis.
Philip Burton, the owner of the Labrador, named Ben said: "It was extraordinary. The fox was really having a go, pushing at the fence trying to get in, while the dog was pushing the other way trying to stop it. I don't know whether it was sick and trying to get in for food but it was a really unpleasant experience."
Efforts to shoot the fox have failed and most recently a humane trap was baited with dog food in the hope of capturing the animal alive. If the fox is caught, it will be handed over to DEFRA vets to determine what is wrong with it.
Nick Hammond, of the Wildlife Trust, described the fox's behaviour as "very strange", adding: "It is possible that the fox was eating and, instead of running away, stood and protected its food source. My only other theory is that the animal had been hand reared and then released and was having trouble coming to terms with life in the wild."