Four-year-old Bedford girl survives rabid-fox attack, then celebrates birth of baby brother at same hospital

Her father says the girl was having a picnic on the family’s porch when the animal charged at her

A four-year-old Bedford girl is recovering after she was bit by a rabid fox.

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Four-year-old Ryleigh Robb was transported to Roanoke Memorial Hospital Tuesday and treated for rabies.

Her father, Billy Robb, says the girl was having a picnic with her grandfather on the porch of their Bedford County home when they noticed an animal charging at them.

“He looked and thought it was a cat; and this thing just came barreling up, jumped over the railing, and just made a mad dash for Ryleigh,” said Robb.

Robb says the grandfather killed the aggressive fox with a golf club.

“One [bite] right here behind the knee, and the other on this side,” said Robb as he showed 10 News the wounds on the girl’s left leg.

“It just jumped up! It really jumped up!” said the four-year-old.

She’s still receiving four sets of shots while remaining in good spirits.

“Ugh, I feel good!” Ryleigh said.

The kid’s not only a survivor — but now she’s a big sister.

The incident happened while the family was preparing for the birth of their fourth child.

Sixty hours after the attack, Ryleigh’s brother was born in the same hospital.

10 News was on Zoom as Ryleigh met baby Oliver for the first time.

Robb is thankful the attack wasn’t worse.

“If my papa hadn’t been out there with her, God knows what would’ve happen,” said Robb.

The Central Virginia Health District confirmed the fox was rabid. Jim Bowles says the region gets about 150 reports each year for wild-animal attacks.

If it happens to you, seek medical treatment immediately.

“Immediately wash the wound with soap and water. That will reduce the chance that any virus is actually absorbed into the body,” said Bowles.

“Keep an eye on your children because you never know until something like this happens, how fast it can happen,” said Robb.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.