WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Reports of sick wild animals are stacking up in Forsyth County.
Warmer temperatures are drawing more people outdoors and more animals out of hibernation.
“My first goal was to get him some help, my second goal was to keep the employees and the customers of the business safe,” said Diedra Thompson, who works at Dynasty Furniture in Winston-Salem.
Thompson came to work early in the morning on March 22 and found a fox hanging out between her delivery trucks.
“He wouldn’t go anywhere, he was just sitting there,” she said.
Then she noticed some strange behavior.
“He was going in circles and there was another movement where he was kind of chomping in the air that was not a normal movement for a fox,” said Thompson.
After being trapped and examined, Thompson said the fox tested positive for rabies. It wasn’t the only sick fox in Winston-Salem that day.
“Wildlife rehab had seven different businesses in the area like from here to the mall call with foxes with strange behavior or looking or acting sick,” said Thompson.
All seven were captured in 12 hours. That seems like a lot, but experts said it’s just that time of year.
“There has been an uptick and this happens every spring and summer because we have more people outside due to the warmer weather,” said Joshua Swift, Forsyth County’s health direction.
It’s known as the “spring spread” by people in the wildlife industry.
The Forsyth County Health Department got reports Thursday of someone being exposed to a raccoon at Forsyth Technical Community College.
“Rabies is something we don’t want to take chances with,” said Swift.
If you’re getting out and about to enjoy the weather, it’s best to steer clear of any wildlife.
“If you see a cute cuddly animal, let them be in their space and you be in your space, don’t touch animals alive or dead,” said Swift.
You can also protect your pets.
“Try to feed your pets indoors, if they’re outdoor pets, feed them and then take the food away after,” said Swift.
Taking these steps can help you avoid any bites or disease exposure.
“I’m very thankful that the employees and the customers were ok,” said Thompson.
Wildlife experts also advise against feeding any animals you come across. They get too comfortable with humans when they have a lot of interaction, which can lead to accidents.