Join Club

The sick Fairlington fox and the efforts to trap it have become a local source of fascination

The young, mangy Fairlington fox that’s roaming around Fairlington and the efforts to trap it has become an object of fascination on local social networks.

The saga started over the past week or so when several community members started spotting a sickly, young fox wandering around streets and in between houses. Appearing on the verge of being hairless, it was clear that the fox had mange — a potentially fatal skin disease that causes loss of fur and is caused by microscope mites.

Beyond impacting foxes, mange is also dangerous to household pets and can cause severe itching in humans as well. The disease can potentially be resolved with medication, however.

Karen Dadey, Fairlington resident and a retired major in the U.S. Army, sprung into action. She contacted the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) and, then, proceeded to set up a trap herself in hopes of getting the fox to a wildlife rehabber as quickly as possible.

Dadey put a camera near the trap as well, baited it with a 7-Eleven cherry pie — at the advice of an expert, she said — and posted daily videos onto Nextdoor and the popular “Fairlington Appreciation Society” Facebook group in hopes of encouraging others to help.

Dadey admitted to ARLnow that this was her first time doing something of this nature, but felt like something needed to be done quickly.

“I’m just leaning in as a private citizen, trying to do the right thing for my neighborhood, to keep our pets safe and our wildlife safe,” she told ARLnow.

She ended up getting three other volunteers to help monitor the trap, replacing the bait and water bowl, and releasing any other animals that may have inadvertently wandered in. That included several squirrels and a neighborhood cat.

While many applauded her efforts in the comments, some argued that “capturing a wild animal is a really bad idea, not to mention illegal.” They urged her to “leave this to the professionals.” Those exhortations have been met from strong pushback from supporters of the amateur effort to save the fox.

Dadey called those positing critical comments “bullies.”

Images of a young, mangy fox wandering around Fairlington (image via Facebook)

Both Dadey and her critics, however, seem to approve of what happened next. Within days, the professionals at AWLA got wind of what was happening and replaced Dadey’s trap with one of theirs.

Chief of Animal Control Jennifer Toussaint posted on the neighborhood Facebook group, providing background on fox behaviors and advising against handling, interacting, or feeding the animals. She also cautioned that helping a fox with mange can be very challenging.

“For the young fox in the photos we want to be up front and honest with the public. Finding rehabbers willing to take a yearling fox with mange is near impossible,” Toussaint wrote in the post. “This illness is highly transmissible to other animals they have in care and they most commonly recommend humane euthanasia.”

Dadey said that at least one of these issues has been resolved, having already arranged with the Nirvana Ridge Wildlife Refuge near Culpepper, Virginia to take the young fox and nurse it back to health.

In the days since, though, the fox still hasn’t been caught.

Dadey has gotten plenty of photos and videos of what she now believes is a four-month-old female fox, despite sometimes finding her cameras have been moved and the video files corrupted, in what she claims are acts of “sabotage.”

Dadey also switched out the bait from a convenience store cherry pie to a boiled egg and a baked chicken thigh, at the urging of another expert.

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, however, AWLA told ARLnow that the organization has taken over “all further trapping efforts relating to this fox.”

AWLA’s Animal Control Team have coordinated to directly oversee all further trapping efforts relating to this fox. We have worked with the licensed rehabber to bring on a licensed ethical trapping company whom they highly recommended. That licensed professional trapping company has already begun trapping efforts earlier this morning in an effort to catch this young fox and transport him/her to rehab. The Fairlington Villages HOA has graciously given written permission for this to occur. We have spoken with residents who were aiding in coordinating and reporting where this fox was sited and all further trapping efforts and monitoring will be done through this licensed ethical trapping company. We ask residents to please stay back from the traps and to report any further sightings or updates they have to Arlington County Animal Control here: https://www.awla.org/wildlife-animal-control/wildlife-conflict-report/ . We ask that if a citizen happens to notice a fox in any of the licensed traps that they please stay back and call Animal Control immediately at 703-931-9241. These traps are regularly being checked in accordance with all state laws.

Toussaint noted that, in Virginia, “wildlife trapping can only be done with a licensed permit from the Department of Wildlife Resources,” though she did endorse the 7-Eleven cherry pie method of attracting foxes.

“The foxes really do like it and it has worked for me many times,” she said.

Dadey is happy that AWLA is now in charge, saying that this is what she wanted all along. She also acknowledges that setting up a trap on her own may have “broken the law,” but she said she was only trying to do the right thing.

Dadey now believes that there might be two foxes, potentially both from the same litter and possibly with mange. She’s informed AWLA of this possible development.

When asked what she’s learned through this ordeal, Dadey said “everything.”

“Everything about foxes, everything about mangy foxes, everything about mange. This little fox has opened my eyes to how vulnerable foxes are,” she said. “They need our support and protection.”

The two young, mangy foxes that have been seen roaming the Fairlington neighborhood (photo via Karen Dadey/Nextdoor)

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

A march against drugs drew a large crowd of parents and community members to Wakefield High School, where a student died this week.

Arlington County police responded to an unusual incident on Route 50 this afternoon. It happened around 1 p.m. at the intersection with Park Drive, near the Arlington Forest Shopping Center…

Building a new home should be a rewarding and memorable experience. That’s why a custom-built home requires personalized service! Here’s your chance to learn everything you need to know about…

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list