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Rabid skunk attacks woman on Main Street, police shoot it dead

February 27, 2013
LANCASTER — Sgt. Paul "Skip" Hood of the Lancaster Police Department only had to fire a single shot of birdshot from his shotgun shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to kill a young skunk that bit St. Paul's parishioner Annetta McGinnis of Lancaster on the ankle after repeatedly attacking her in the church parking lot, off Main Street.

The following day a state Fish and Game conservation officer transported the skunk's body to the state laboratory in Concord where the presence of rabies was found in its cranial fluids, reported Lancaster Police Chief William "Bill" Colborn.

The chief commended Hood for recognizing the skunk's unusual behavior as indicating a strong possibility that it was rabid and for his quick and appropriate action that included keeping the animal's head intact.

McGinnis, who serves as the Democrat's Lancaster correspondent, has written her own account of the incident (see related article) in her local news column.

She admitted in a Sunday evening telephone interview that she had, indeed, been scared and unpleasantly surprised to bitten by an aggressive skunk. But, McGinnis said, she is most grateful to the several people, also on hand for St. Paul's Soup Night and church services, that aided her and called for help, to Sgt. Hood, Lancaster Ambulance crew members, and those in the Emergency Room at Weeks Medical Center.

Even though the skunk bite did not break her skin, McGinnis is in the midst of receiving a series of intramuscular shots of rabies vaccine recommended by her physician. "I'm feeling just fine," she said.

Both she and Chief Colborn are warning everyone to be aware that there is the potential of encountering rabid mammals.

Last week the Democrat reported that two goats had to be euthanized in Whitefield after being bitten by a rabid skunk.

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