VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's a path near Cape Story By the Bay neighborhood Nina James-Houseman has run on for 16 years.
"It was dark; I couldn't see really well. All I could see a silhouette a good distance away from me," James-Houseman explained.
Around 6 a.m. on Tuesday, James-Houseman trotted into trouble.
"I thought, 'Is this a cat or a coyote?' It crossed the path and swerved back on the path, then it came straight at me," she said.
In a split second, James-Houseman was in a quarrel with a vicious fox.
"I'm shuffling and moving and he comes off me then on me again. I have to kick him; not small kicks - full-on where he is airborne in the bushes, like six to eight kicks," she told News 3.
James-Houseman said the fox was relentless.
"I was yelling at it, 'Stop, stop!' and it wasn't stopping and I started to scream at it, hoping that would stop but also to alert someone," she said.
Minutes later, she had a gash in her upper thigh and bite marks on her knee. She went immediately to the hospital, where they contacted Animal Control.
"I was not gonna take any chances; it's puncture wounds. He didn't take a chunk out, though, thank goodness.
The City of Virginia Beach said a fox was found dead in the subdivision, and the health department said it tested positive for rabies. The fox was found in the exact location where James-Houseman was attacked.
Rabies is 100% fatal if left untreated.
James-Houseman says she will now be prepared when she hits the trail.
"I plan to bring mace or a retractable baton."
If anyone in your household - including your pet - has had any exposure to stray or wild animals in this area within the last few weeks, you are asked to contact your physician or the Health Department at (757) 518-2700 between 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Only call 911 in the event of an emergency.