Sunny View man attacked by suspected rabid coyote

Published 10:53 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

by Leah Justice

A man weed eating his yard last Thursday evening was attacked by what he reported to be a coyote, according to Polk County Animal Control.

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Officers from the sheriff’s office said the man was weed eating around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 on King Stepp Road, off Grassy Knob Road, when all of a sudden, the animal attacked the weed eater, then bit the man on the leg.

The man immediately went to the hospital, where he received rabies shots and several stitches in his leg.

Officers described it as a substantial wound.

The man described the animal as a small coyote. The coyote was not captured.

A rabies clinic is being scheduled for the area for residents to have their pets vaccinated. The time and place will be announced at a later date.

Although coyotes are known carriers of rabies, this is the first coyote thought to be rabid in Polk County since animal control officer Michael Herman has been with the sheriff’s office.

The last rabid animal reported in Polk County was a skunk in Pea Ridge in September 2012. There were two rabid skunks captured within days of each other in 2012; one in Pea Ridge and the other in Mill Spring. The second skunk in 2012 attacked a cat and killed some kittens in Pea Ridge, according to 2012 reports.

The last attack on a human in Polk County occurred on May 8, 2011 in Green Creek when a rabid fox attacked a man and woman. The man and woman were walking down a driveway when a fox appeared and attacked them. Both victims suffered bites on their hands and arms, according to 2011 reports.

In February 2010, a fox charged and latched onto the clothes of two adults who were doing cleanup for the Town of Columbus in the Hampton Court area off Houston Road.

Fox, coyote, skunks, opossum and raccoons are high carriers of the rabies disease and people should try to avoid contact with these animals. Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain and is fatal if not treated. Symptoms of rabies include malaise, headache and fever that progress into pain, violent movement and uncontrolled excitement, depression and hydrophobia.

Anyone who comes in contact with a suspected rabid animal should get to the hospital immediately where shots can be administered and contact the Polk County Animal Control.