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JUST IN: Fox menaces Gulf Branch neighborhood, leading to rabies warning

File photo of a fox in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by GM and MB)

(Updated at 10:35 p.m.) A fox terrorized a northern Arlington neighborhood today, prompting a warning about rabies from local authorities.

Police and Arlington animal control started getting calls about an aggressive fox in the Gulf Branch neighborhood this morning. It culminated in a police dispatch for a report of a three-year-old boy being bitten by the fox inside a garage on 33rd Street N., around 2:15 p.m.

The person who reported the incident chased the fox away. There’s no word on how the boy is doing now.

The fox also “had potential contact” with three pets, Arlington County says.

On Wednesday evening, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington told ARLnow that a fox had been captured.

“A fox was captured and removed at approximately 3:25pm today by 3 animal control officers, Sgt. Ballena, Deputy Murray, and Deputy Elpers,” said Jen Toussaint, AWLA’s Chief of Animal Control.

The county’s press release about the fox, from before it was captured, is below.

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, beginning at 10:45 a.m., Arlington County Animal Control and the Arlington County Police Department began received complaints regarding a fox aggressively approaching people and dogs around the 3500 block of N Utah Street and [4500 block] of 33rd Street North. The incidents are believed to involve the same fox.

The fox had potential contact with three domestic pets and bit one human unprovoked causing injury. The fox in question was exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with rabies. The suspect aggressive fox has not been located or captured at this time.

Rabies is a disease that people and animals can catch from the bite or scratch of infected animals. It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly.

Arlington County Animal Control and the Arlington County Department of Human Services are urging anyone who may have been bitten or scratched by any wild animal, including a fox, to reach out immediately. If you, your children, or your pets had any potential contact with this animal, please call Arlington County Animal Control promptly at 703-931-9241.

Residents are encouraged to:

  • Ensure pets are up to date on their rabies and distemper vaccines
  • Keep dogs on a leash at all times and keep cats inside
  • Do not approach or feed any wild animals
  • Feed pets inside
  • Remove wildlife attractants from yards, such as unsecured garbage cans, open containers of food and compost

What to look out for

Arlington County Animal Control is also urging residents to remain vigilant, and if they see a fox that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive to stay away from the animal and call Animal Control immediately: 703-931-9241.

The County asks that pets and children are not permitted outside unsupervised at this time.

Do not attempt to haze or make loud sounds at this animal. Back away slowly while facing the animal at all times.

If you come across a deceased rabies vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space, contact Animal Control promptly and do not handle the animal.

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