HUDSON — The state Department Environmental Conservation will begin to investigate a report of a possible rabid fox in the city today in the vicinity of Cedar Park Cemetery.
Hudson police were called to Cedar Park Cemetery at 11:12 a.m. Sunday after a report of possible rabid foxes in the park.
A man who was visiting the cemetery called police after he was approached by two young men in the cemetery that morning, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said Tuesday.
“The two young men told him they were chased by a rabid fox in the old section of the cemetery,” Moore said. “When patrol arrived and interviewed the caller, the two men and the fox were not located.”
There have been rumors of rabid fox sightings in the area, but Sunday’s call is the only reported claim Hudson police have documented, Moore said.
Moore notified the DEC, adding it is unknown what kind of fox the men saw.
The DEC received a call about a sick fox in Hudson on Monday, said DEC Region 4 Public Participation Specialist Rick Georgeson. The department will send an Environmental Conservation Police Officer to investigate Wednesday.
“The investigation will determine further actions,” Georgeson said. “DEC reminds the public to never approach wildlife.”
If an animal appears sick or injured, the public should contact the ECO dispatch line at 1-877-457-5680, Georgeson said.
The public can also contact the Wildlife Bureau about the sighting of a sick or diseased animal, according to the DEC’s website, via the bureau’s email firstname.lastname@example.org. Submitting a photo with a description of the animal is helpful, according to the department.
The Columbia County Public Health Department handled 10 new post-exposure rabies cases in August, according to a Sept. 18 report from department Director Jack Mabb. One of the 10 cases included a confirmed rabid raccoon that attacked a family’s puppy, which had not been vaccinated against the virus. The puppy had to be euthanized and the family was treated with post-exposure shots.
The department investigated many cases, but the raccoon was the only confirmed rabies case in August.
In May, the department received reports of multiple rabies-connected encounters including one incident in Ancram, two in Ghent, one in Claverack and one in Hudson, where Hudson police were sent to remove a raccoon from a residential property.
Each of the incidents involved rabid raccoons, which could have spread the virus to other animals.
The health department warned pet owners that state law requires all pets to be vaccinated for rabies. Failure to vaccinate them can result in fines of up to $200.
Columbia County provides free rabies vaccinations. Dates and times for rabies clinics are available on the Columbia County Department of Health website, or by calling the department at 518-828-3358.
Last year, the county vaccinated 675 pets.