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Local foxes' bite may be worse than their bark

A fox stands on a staircase near the Terrazzo at the Air Force Academy May 30, 2011. Academy public health officials have asked residents on base to keep an eye out for foxes behaving erratically after two foxes in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs, Colo., tested positive for rabies in August 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cadet 1st Class Kyle Palko)

A fox stands on a staircase near the Terrazzo at the Air Force Academy May 30, 2011. Academy public health officials have asked residents on base to keep an eye out for foxes behaving erratically after two foxes in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs, Colo., tested positive for rabies in August 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cadet 1st Class Kyle Palko)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Sure, the Terrazzo fox looks cute, but stay out of his way.

The El Paso County Public Health Office warned residents Aug. 12 that two foxes tested positive for rabies in late July and early August, marking the first time an animal other than a bat has tested positive for rabies west of Interstate 25.

Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear, the release states. In the event of exposure to an animal suspected to carry rabies, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and go to an emergency room as soon as possible.

Pet owners should make sure their pets' rabies vaccinations are up-to-date. If a pet comes into contact with a rabid animal, take the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Public Health has heightened interest in reports of foxes from Broadmoor Bluffs, Old Broadmoor, Broadmoor Resort Community, Broadmoor Glen and The Spires at Broadmoor, according to a press release.

But because foxes also inhabit the Air Force Academy, residents in the dormitories and neighborhoods in Pine Valley and Douglass Valley should also keep an eye out for foxes that are behaving erratically, said Master Sgt. Veronique Blier, the 10th Aeromedical Squadron's Public Health Flight chief.

Residents in those neighborhoods should contact the Public Health Office immediately at 578-3220, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division at 227-5200 or the 10th AMDS at 333-9443 if they see a fox that seems unafraid of humans or encounter a sick, injured or dead fox.