The first rabid animal of the year in Gila County was shot and killed last week in Tonto Basin.
"The outdoor family cat gets into it with a fox on the back porch," Gila County Rabies Control Officer Mike Spaulding said. "The owner chases the fox off a little bit, but he doesn't want to leave. He throws a broom and he still doesn't leave, so he shoots it."
The fox was sent to the state laboratory for testing, which confirmed that it was rabid. The cat's rabies shot was out of date, so rather than face a mandatory 180-day quarantine at $7 per day, the owner elected to have the cat destroyed.
"If the cat's shot had been up to date, it would have received a booster shot and been placed on 45-day home quarantine," Spaulding said.