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Ferocious fox meets its match in amputee

The Hudson man wrestles it to the ground, and a neighbor slays the fox with a hammer. A 130-pound Rottweiler didn't scare it away.

By MARY SPICUZZA
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 2, 2002


HUDSON -- Eddie "Buddy" Suggs has lost his legs.

But he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

After a fox attacked him outside his Hudson home Sunday evening, Suggs joked with his wife, Edie, 61, about how he foiled the hungry creature.

"She was fixing to have a leg for supper," Suggs said Monday morning.

"Good thing there wasn't one there," his wife added.

Suggs, 56, suffers from a circulatory disease and has had his legs amputated just below the knees. He said the hungry fox lunged for his pants' leg and was left with a mouthful of "britches."

After a wild struggle with Suggs, his Rottweiler and a hammer-wielding neighbor, the fox learned just how tough a double-amputee can be.

About 5 p.m., Suggs first saw the fox approaching the house as he and his wife relaxed on the front porch with relatives visiting from Tampa. The female fox saw the family, too, but it kept heading straight for them.

"She acted like she belonged here," Suggs said.

He quickly unleashed Ben, the 130-pound Rottweiler, to keep the fox at a safe distance from his Choctaw Trail home.

After a brief skirmish, the fox was the one chasing Ben around the yard. The fox started to saunter toward the road but turned around and again charged after the nearly 2-year-old dog.

"We were yelling, "Ben, you're the Rottweiler. You're supposed to be chasing her,' " Edie Suggs said. "He loves to chase our chickens around."

Ben put up a good fight when the fox caught up with him near the Suggses' pigpen and again next to their pool. But the fox was hungry and determined. It kept attacking.

Suggs grabbed his .25-caliber pistol and steered his three-wheeled scooter toward the side of the house. He saw the fox charging his neighbor, 25-year-old Nathan Purcell, who was trying to come outside to help.

Suggs yelled to Purcell to shut his door. That's when the fox took off after Suggs, knocking his gun out of his hand faster than he could take aim.

The fox went for Suggs' pants leg, and then it lunged at his neck.

"She had a set of teeth on her you wouldn't believe," he said. "They were like needles."

Suggs threw himself out of his scooter and on top of the fox. He tried to strangle the fox, but said he had trouble getting his hands around its throat because he has only two fingers as a result of the disease.

Still he tackled the fox, preventing it from attacking anyone else.

"I was screaming for somebody to get a hammer," Suggs said. "All I could think about was those needles going into my belly."

His wife grabbed a broom and was searching for a hammer when Purcell ran out of his house, a hammer raised over his head.

"Nathan bopped (it) twice, and that was it," Edie Suggs said.

The fox died instantly, and the Suggses called Pasco County Animal Control on Monday morning to report the attack.

Pasco County Animal Control's rabies officer Cree Morgan said tests done on the 30-pound gray fox should determine by Wednesday whether it was rabid.

Morgan said a Hudson woman was bitten on the leg during another fox attack Sunday and was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. Morgan said the woman, whose name has not been released, went to see the dead fox but said it wasn't the one who attacked her.

The Suggses and Purcell agreed that Sunday's attacks have taught them an important lesson.

"Let's warn people that if you see a fox, it might not run away," Edie Suggs said.

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