Rabid fox attack in Mossy Head forces young boy to undergo rabies vaccinations

October 6, 2009

Robert Crawford holds a picture of his grandson, Benjamin Williams, who successfully underwent rabies shots.
Robert Crawford holds a picture of his grandson, Benjamin Williams, who successfully underwent rabies shots.

Quick action by Walton County deputy prevented future incident

MOSSY HEAD – A young boy from the Mossy Head community has successfully completed a series of rabies vaccinations, and his family credits the heroic actions of a Walton County Deputy with stopping the animal before it caused harm to anyone else.  Deputy John Cheek was also attacked by the rabid red fox and had to undergo a series of shots to ward off the fatal disease.

It’s been nearly a month since eight-year-old Benjamin Williams was outside his Laird Road home when he was attacked.  On the morning of September 14th, the animal darted from underneath his mother’s parked car and charged the child.  Benjamin was bitten on the leg before his grandfather, Robert Crawford, was able to get the animal off with a stick.  The child’s mother immediately transported him to the hospital.

A few minutes later, Deputy Cheek arrived on the scene.  Moments after getting out of his patrol car, the fox would once again attack after coming out from underneath the parked vehicle in the yard.  The fox began biting into Deputy Cheek’s left leg area around the top portion of his boot.  Unable to sling the animal off, he pulled his service revolver and fired two lethal shots into the fox.

A test by the Florida Health Department indicated that the animal had rabies.  Although its teeth didn’t break the skin, the animal’s saliva got on to the deputy’s torn pant leg.  He too had to undergo a series of rabies shots.

Mr. Crawford says he had to undergo painful rabies shots after being bitten by rats while serving in the military in Vietnam more than thirty-years-ago.  Crawford says “he knows the quick action of Deputy Cheek stopping the fox prevented it from attacking him and nearby neighborhood children.”

If you see an animal behaving strangely or aggressively,  call Walton County Animal Control at 850-892-8682. If it is an immediate attack situation, call 911.