Woman bitten by fox pried its jaws open to free herself

The fox believed to be responsible was euthanized

Animal control officers captured and euthanized what is believed to be the fox that bit a woman near Lake Harriet Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis Police reported.

The woman was visiting Lake Harriet when the attack occurred near West Minnehaha Parkway.

Cynthia Obmoin, 51, of Eagan, was unloading a bike off of her car when she felt something brush the back of her leg, according to an animal control incident report.

As Obmoin turned around to see what it was, she was bitten on the lower left leg by a wild fox. Screaming for help and “extremely shaken” Obmoin had to “reach down and forcibly pry open” the fox’s mouth when she realized it wasn’t going to let go, according to the report.

The fox then circled her car and escaped into the woods. Residents heard her crying for help and helped by rinsing her leg with a water bottle and helping her into her car.

The bite wasn’t severe, and Obmoin was treated at Fairview Southdale Hospital and released.

Although it’s believed the captured fox is the one that bit Obmoin, there’s no way of knowing for sure.

“As a result, the victim will need to receive post-exposure vaccinations to ensure she’s protected,” and the fox will be tested for rabies, according to a police statement.

Residents who provided assistance told authorities that foxes are common in the area and that a woman in the neighborhood “may be feeding / allowing them to live under her deck,” the report said.

Caroline Hairfield, deputy director of Animal Care and Control, said Minneapolis is very fortunate to not have many rabies cases compared with other areas of the country, but whenever there are large numbers of humans living with large populations of animals these incidents occur.

Hairfield said the public needs to look out for suspicious, overly aggressive or docile animals.

“If a wild animal is scratching on your door, call Animal Care and Control immediately,” Hairfield said. “Err on the side of safety and keep the community healthy.”

Rabies in land mammals is rare in Minneapolis, Minneapolis Police said.