Fox euthanized after allegedly biting 9 people on Capitol Hill

Authorities in Washington, DC, captured and euthanized a fox that reportedly bit nine people on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, local health officials confirmed to CBS News. A congressman and a reporter are among those who said they were bitten while walking around the grounds of the Capitol.

The fox was “captured and humanely euthanized” so he could be tested for rabies, a DC Health spokesperson told CBS News in a statement Wednesday, adding that test results would likely be available later. during the day. The statement identified the fox as an adult female and said her children – known as kits – had been found and captured. Officials said they have not yet determined what to do with the kits.

The statement said no other foxes were found on the Capitol grounds, but said many are present in the district and it would not be uncommon to see them. He said authorities would take no action against healthy foxes, but urged residents to report encounters with aggressive, sick or injured foxes.

The fox was captured Tuesday afternoon by Capitol police after multiple people reported being bitten on Capitol grounds.

Rep. Ami Bera and Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo confirmed to CBS News on Tuesday that they were attacked by a fox while walking outside the Capitol.

Bera said a fox came and attacked the back of his leg “without any provocation”, but said the bite was minor enough not to puncture his sock or his skin. Bustillo said she felt a “pinch” in her ankle which she thought was a squirrel or a dog, before realizing she had been attacked by a fox.

Both said the fox ran away after others nearby started screaming, and both have since started treatment for rabies.

“You want to take wildlife bites seriously – even a scratch,” said Bera, who is also a doctor.

Reports of fox attacks seem to contradict the typical behavior of the species. According to the Humane Society, foxes are generally much more likely to flee from humans than attack them – unless they are rabid, or have been captured or handled.

To scare a fox, the Humane Society recommends making noise, spraying it with water, or throwing a small object at it.

Ellis Kim and Zak Hudak contributed reporting.

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