Five children bitten by foxes in Lakewood, NJ
LAKEWOOD — Five children were bitten by foxes in three separate incidents on Tuesday.
The first incident was around 10 a.m. when a boy was attacked at the John Street playground, according to police Capt. Greg Staffordsmith. The child's mother did not contact police until late afternoon. He was treated at a hospital and released.
An 8-year-old child was bitten around 6:40 p.m. in the same playground, according to Staffordsmith. Police were not notified for another three hours.
Three more children were attacked while playing in a yard on Regal Court around 7:30 p.m., according to Staffordsmith. The parents were advised by police to seek medical attention for the children.
Staffordsmith said a fox was reported to have jumped on a child on Rose Park Circle but there was no bite.
The animals responsible for the bites have not been located or captured. The locations of the bites are not close to each other.
Staffordsmith said anyone who spots a fox should contact the Lakewood Police Department at 732-363-0200.
"Additionally, if you or someone you know is bitten or injured please seek immediate emergency medical attention and then report the incident to us as soon as possible," Staffordsmith said.
The Ocean County Health Department is looking into the Lakewood cases, according to spokesman Dan Regenye. According to the state Department of Health, three reported rabies cases this year have been reported in Ocean County through June 30 in a raccoon and two cats.
19 rabid foxes have been reported in Ocean County between 1989 and 2022.
Regyne said animals that are acting erratically or appear to be paralyzed or sick should be avoided and be reported to police.
Fox trouble at Double Trouble State Park
The incidents come after Double Trouble State Park in Berkeley remained closed Wednesday because of the presence of a potentially rabid fox. New Jersey Fish & Wildlife, which oversees the park, said the animal had been "behaving erratically" and had an encounter with visitors.
The park has been closed since Monday.
Two species of fox are found in New Jersey, the red fox and the gray fox, according to NJ Fish & Wildlife. Healthy foxes do not pose a danger to humans and prey on small livestock such as ducks, chickens, rabbits, and young lambs. Cats may also be a target.
They can carry the organisms responsible for several contagious diseases such as mange, distemper and rabies, according to the DEP.
The DEP on Wednesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.