Fox captured on Capitol grounds after reports of attacks

WASHINGTON — For a few hours Tuesday on Capitol Hill, attention briefly turned from the issues of the day — coronavirus aid, the war in Ukraine and the first black woman appointed to the Supreme Court — to a pressing issue.

“Have you seen the Capitol Fox? a reporter shouted at Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader, as he left a televised press conference.

It was around this time that uniformed animal control officers pulled up outside the Capitol in a white van, armed with a net, pole and cage, looking for a wild fox. – or foxes – that had been spotted in the field. They were responding to multiple reports of fox sightings around the US government headquarters, where lawmakers, staffers and reporters had been attacked — about six of them had been bitten, according to Capitol police — by this who appeared to be a red fox turned into something of a celebrity.

“Fox News. Red. ‘Aggressive.’ Roaming the Capitol,” read the Twitter bio of a user calling himself capitol fox.

By afternoon, a fox had been captured on Capitol grounds, Capitol Police said in a Twitter news alert that screamed “#BREAKING” and had photos of the caged inmate. A statement later noted that more wild foxes may roam the grounds.

“It is not clear if there was only one aggressive fox,” the statement read.

The canine capture follows a reported attack Monday night on Rep. Ami Bera, Democrat of California. Mr Bera said he was bitten by a fox near the Russell Senate Office building in an “unprovoked” attack, according to a Punchbowl News report.

“I didn’t see it and all of a sudden I felt something rush at the back of my leg,” Mr Bera said.

Capitol Police had sent out urgent security alerts Tuesday warning residents of Capitol Hill of “possible fox dens” on Capitol grounds. The alerts soberly noted that “foxes are wild animals that are very protective of their dens and territory.”

“Please do not approach any foxes you see,” the alerts urged.

And with good reason. Foxes are one of the most common animals in Washington to carry rabies, according to city health officials, and the disease is most often spread when a rabid animal bites a person.

Which left Mr. Bera in an unfortunate position after his encounter with the Capitol Fox. He received treatment for tetanus and rabies — seven injections in total — at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the recommendation of the congressional attending physician, a spokesperson said.

“One in Both Butts” Mr. Bera later told CNN.

Mr. Bera’s spokesman said the congressman was feeling well and working on Tuesday after the attack. He added that Mr Bera would receive three more injections for rabies in the coming days.

“As a doctor himself, Rep. Bera encourages everyone to be vigilant around wild animals and to speak with their doctor if they are bitten,” the spokesperson added.

Ximena Bustillo, congressional reporter for Politico, said she was also bitten by a fox outside the Capitol on Tuesday.

“That feeling when you get bitten by a fox leaving the Capitol because that’s of course something I expect in the MIDDLE OF DC,” Ms. Bustillo wrote on Twitter.

Reporters, Capitol Hill staffers and other lawmakers reported less aggressive encounters.

“I was sitting at a gazebo outside the Russell Senate office building when this little one came trotting along,” CQ reporter Michael Macagnone said. said on Twitter, posting a picture of a fox. He added that the fox “then galloped after a squirrel”.

Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan said his the heart leaps with joy when he heard about the Capitol Hill foxes, apparently unaware that one had bitten a fellow Democrat the night before.

“We need more wild creatures here and less wild conspiracies,” Levin said, turning the online conversation back to politics.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, ignored a question about the fox at a press conference on Tuesday, but Sen. Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, answered the question, saying she l ‘had seen. (She later provided reporters with footage of his early morning encounter.)

By Tuesday night, Capitol Fox’s Twitter avatar had been replaced with a photo of the caged animal, and a new lobbying campaign had sprung up in the nation’s capital.

“THIS IS NOT THE END!” read a tweet displayed alongside photographs of the captured fox. “#FreeTheFox.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.