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Recent Rabies Cases Have Westchester County Residents On Edge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Four confirmed cases of rabies in Westchester County have led to a warning for parents and pet owners.

A series of close encounters with rabid animals has suburbanites shaken. In the past week, there have been two rabid racoons, one cat and a grey fox that resident Susan Johnson photographed after it was caged and before it was killed.

"It was terrifying. It was terrifying," Johnson told CBS 2's Lou Young.

Rabid animals are dangerous because they are dying and demented. They can be passive, but also very aggressive like the grey fox that blew through Briarcliff Manor last Wednesday.

The fox bit four people, two dogs, leaped off a wall and invaded Johnson's house, where it holed up while animal control officers surrounded it.

"When my husband came up and patted on the glass, it started jumping all over onto the blinds. He's cleaned up a lot of the stuff, but there was foam and blood all over the stuff that was in here," Johnson said, describing the scene. "It was terrifying and it was nuts."

Rabid Fox In Westchester County
Photograph of the rabid grey fox that ran into the home of Susan Johnson. (credit: CBS 2)

According to John Hopper, of the Westchester Health Department, the fox spent the night in Johnson's house until animal control was able to get a handle on the situation.

"It was a furious case of rabies, aggressive and the animal, I guess, was just out of control so to speak," Hopper said.

Animal Control Officer Beth Lorenzen said health officials were "saving lives every day."

"A lot of people don't realize it, rabies is 100 percent fatal," she said.

Experts warn if you see any animal acting strangely, keep your distance. If it bites you, make sure the authorities can find it to make sure it isn't diseased and you can get treatment before it's too late.

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