Clermont man uses iPhone, gun to kill rabid fox

'I took my cellphone and whack -- I smacked him a good one,' man says

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

CLERMONT, Fla. - A Clermont man used an iPhone then a gun to kill a rabid fox that lunged at him as he was doing yard work on Tuesday.

Henry Antauer, 74, said he didn't initially think anything was strange when he noticed the gray fox.

"I seen it and I thought to get my cellphone out and take a picture of it. So all I had on me was a pair of shorts and I had my cellphone so I went click like this and he just popped his head up and looked at me," Antauer said.

He said the fox ran under his truck and started acting strange.

"He was snarling and making all kinds of weird noises under the truck. He popped his head up and looked at me, so I started backing up," he said.

Antauer said it suddenly started running toward him. Trying to scare the ferocious fox didn't work.

"He come up and jumped at me and I took my cellphone and whack -- I smacked him a good one. That's all I had," he said.

He said the aggressive animal flew back about three feet and came at him a second and a third time.

"He got back up again and attacked me again. I mean he just come up snarling and teeth baring and I stood there and whack -- smacked him another one real good," Antauer said.

That's when he said he went into the garage, grabbed his pellet gun and shot the fox in the head.
Antauer said not long after, a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer came out and picked it up.

"I never got bit and I never got scatched but the last time I hit him the saliva flew and it was on my hands and on my phone. The next day they called me and said indeed it was positive for rabies," he said.

Antauer said he didn't think twice and got the rabies shots he needed just in case.

The Florida Department of Health in Lake County advises that the public follow the tips listed below to protect themselves against rabies:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all pets.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals.  If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Enforcement at 352-343-2101.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that might not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
  • Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people and pets.

Lake County residents can report unusual-acting animals to the Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Enforcement at 352-343-2101.

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