LIVINGSTON, New Jersey -- An 8-year-old girl was hospitalized after being attacked by a fox as she walked with a friend near her New Jersey home Wednesday afternoon.
The attack happened as the pair walked along a neighborhood creek a few blocks from Dylan Dratch's home in Livingston.
Dylan is now recovering at her home.
"The fox came - at first, I thought it was a dream, but then I just started running because it was standing still," Dylan said. "But then it kept on following me, and that's when it attacked me."
At that time, 20-year-old Matt Nichter was playing basketball with neighborhood kids when he spotted the attack and leapt into action.
"I was holding a ball in my hand, so I used that as a bit of a distraction," he said. "And then I kind of chased after the fox, and the little girl ran away. She was able to get to safety. I carried her up into the front of the house and calmed her down a little bit. She was a little bit torn up about it, obviously."
A neighbor called Dylan's mom, Stacey.
As Stacey described what was going through her mind at that point.
"Try not to show your kid that you're having a breakdown," Stacey said. "Go into protect mode, and she was OK."
Dylan Dratch sustained puncture wounds on her shins and foot. She also was treated for allergies after the attack; she is allergic to dogs, and her body had the same reaction to the fox.
Fish and wildlife officials are setting traps to catch the fox. Though they are unsure if the fox was rabid, Dylan must undergo treatment for rabies, just in case.
Police say fox and coyote sightings are common in Livingston, and they are urging residents to take extra precautions when they're outside.
"So this is the first time in 31 years that we've had a fox attack a human," Livingston Police Cheif Gary Marshuetz said. "So it is extremely rare, but, you always want to make noise, be mindful of the fact that they have den or home areas, and they do have pups in the spring."
They also reminded resident never to approach wild animals.
"Anytime you see an animal behaving oddly, that you just move away from it and leave it be and call us and we'll take care of it," Livingston Police Captain Tom Smith said.
With the attack behind her, Dylan is just being an 8-year-old. She and her friends were treated to ice cream when the truck stopped by her home Thursday afternoon.
8-year-old girl attacked by fox near New Jersey home, 20-year-old neighbor comes to her aid
8-year-old Dylan Dratch sustained puncture wounds on her shins and foot.