Press Club

A fox with a propensity for stealing newspapers — the Washington Post specifically — has returned to the residential neighborhoods of North Arlington.

“Just spotted this fox holding a newspaper on Williamsburg Blvd headed toward Harrison Street in 22207,” a resident, Ali N., told ARLnow this morning.

That’s near last June’s newspaper-stealing fox sighting in the Rock Spring neighborhood, and not far from a similar spotting five days ago.

“If you’re missing your newspaper and live on [the 4900 block of] Old Dominion [Drive], a very foxy thief is the culprit,” wrote a Yorktown resident who posted a photo of a Washington Post in his or her jaws. “Had a good laugh watching him proudly escape the crime scene with the bounty in hand, errrr mouth.”

Another Nextdoor post from last month holds a potential clue as to why the fox is stealing newspapers. A resident in the nearby Williamsburg and East Falls Church area posted that a fox had four kits under their shed.

“Some mornings, the kids/kits use front porch as a playground,” the resident wrote in a post that was accompanied by a video of the little ones scurrying about the porch.

The original video from last year’s foxy newspaper theft is below.

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Fox in an Arlington yard (file photo)

Arlington has another fox rabies case — maybe two.

A sick fox captured by animal control along Washington Blvd, between East Falls Church and Westover, has tested positive for rabies, according to an announcement from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Another sick fox was seen on video, taken in the neighborhood surrounding Wakefield High School, but has not been located, AWLA said.

Those incidents follow AWLA’s warning last week of a potentially rabid fox in the Arlingwood neighborhood, as well as a similar warning in early February after an aggressive fox attacked pets and, reportedly, at least one person in the Gulf Branch neighborhood.

ALWA, which handles animal control for Arlington County, said that residents should remain vigilant, take precautions with pets, and contact the animal control office immediately if they see “any animal that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive.”

More from AWLA, below.

Confirmed rabid fox in Highland Park neighborhood: on Wednesday April 27th, 2022 in the afternoon Arlington County Animal Control received a call about a sick fox in the 6200 block of Washington Boulevard. The fox had neurological signs consistent with rabies, and was captured and removed by Animal Control after exposing a domestic pet. The fox was tested and came back clinically positive for rabies.

Additionally, Animal Control was recently provided footage of a potentially sick fox in the Claremont neighborhood. That footage was provided 4 days after the event, and therefore no fox has been located and no other sightings have occurred 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. If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with this fox or any wild animal, please call Arlington County Animal Control at 703-931-9241 immediately, after hours please stay on the line to speak with the answering service who will alert an officer.

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.
  • Check backyards before letting pets or children outside and monitor them at all times.
  • 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.

Animal Control is also urging all residents in Arlington County to remain vigilant and if they see any animal that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive to stay away from the animal and call Animal Control immediately: 703-931-9241. If you come across a deceased rabies vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, bats and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space please also contact Animal Control promptly and do not handle the animal.

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Fox in a backyard in 2018 (Flickr pool photo by GM and MB)

A fox with “neurological signs consistent with rabies” has been captured this morning in the Arlingwood neighborhood near Chain Bridge, officials say.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is warning residents, particularly those in the area where the fox was found, to keep pets inside or on a leash — and to keep those pets up to date on rabies and distemper vaccines. If people or their pets potentially came into contact with the fox, they’re being encouraged to call animal control.

More from an AWLA social media post:

*Notice to Arlington Co residents* – on April 26, 2022 at approximately 7:45am, Arlington County Animal Control responded to calls about a disoriented fox in the Arlingwood neighborhood near the 4100 blocks of 41 St and Randolph Street N, south-east of Chain Bridge Rd and George Washington Pkwy. The fox had neurological signs consistent with rabies, and was captured and removed by Animal Control. 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. If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with this fox, please call Arlington County Animal Control at (703) 931-9241 immediately.

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.

Arlington County Animal Control is also urging residents to remain vigilant and to stay away from any animal that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive and call Animal Control immediately at (703) 931-9241. If you come across a deceased rabies-vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space, do not handle the animal and Animal Control immediately.

In February an “aggressive” fox that bit a toddler was captured by animal control in the Gulf Branch neighborhood, which is just down Military Road from Arlingwood. That fox was also thought to be rabid.

Earlier this month a rabid fox bit nine people on Capitol Hill before it was captured and euthanized. The fox’s kits were also euthanized.

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Morning Notes

A Washington City Paper box sits by itself near a crosswalk in Ballston, after the announcement that the paper would be ending its print edition (staff photo)

Concern Growing for Missing Man — “Arlington County, Va., police are seeking help from the public in locating gay Pentagon City resident Shaun M. Spaulding, 39, who police say was last seen on the afternoon of March 15, 2022, at his residence by his roommate. Princess Melissa, Spaulding’s cousin, reached out to the LGBTQ community in a Facebook message last week urging anyone who may have seen Spaulding to contact the police.” [Washington Blade]

Arlingtonian on Jeopardy! Tonight — Tonight’s episode of the long-running TV quiz show is set to feature Kathleen Snyder, a government contractor from Arlington. [Jeopardy!]

Overturned Vehicle Last Night — From Dave Statter: “One car overturned at the intersection of S. Carlin Springs Road & Ardley Court. Person out of the car. #Police, fire & #EMS on scene.” [Twitter]

Misbehavior at Local Middle School — “Parents in Arlington are concerned after students were caught bringing weapons to a middle school and being inappropriate in the restrooms. They’ve been contacting FOX 5 about a number of incidents that have taken place at Swanson Middle School.” [Fox 5]

APS Homework Debate Rages — “Rarely have I received reaction to a column as vigorous — and as negative — as the flood of emails from teachers appalled by my opposition to a plan in Arlington, Va., to strike down traditional homework and grading systems.” [Washington Post]

New Coach for New Marymount Sport — “Roy Hill has been hired to be the head coach and start the men’s wrestling program at Marymount University. The first season for the Division III Saints will be the 2022-23 winter season… ‘Northern Virginia deserves to have a top-notch Division III option for the large number of quality wrestlers who want to get a quality education while being in the business hub of the nation,’ Hill said.” [Sun Gazette]

Video: Coyote Terrorizes Fox Family — From a reader: “A coyote came to my Arlington backyard to try to feast on my fox family who live under my shed. There’s a mama and a papa and four kits. The foxes did their best to lure him away for now. This happened Friday night. We hope he doesn’t come back.” [YouTube]

It’s Tuesday — Rain throughout the day. High of 62 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:48 am and sunset at 7:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Rain puddles in Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It was quite a week.

There was everything from breaking news, like the county finalizing a new jail medical provider after the latest inmate death, to helpful stories like where to stock up on Girl Scout cookies. And you all seemed particularly interested in stories about wayward poultry and an aggressive fox.

Here are the most-read Arlington articles of the past week.

  1. Rogue chicken caught sneaking around Pentagon entrance
  2. Crawfish eatery Chasin’ Tails is leaving Arlington for Falls Church
  3. Fox menaces Gulf Branch neighborhood, leading to rabies warning
  4. Another death reported at Arlington County jail
  5. Two arrested after assaults at Columbia Pike businesses over the weekend
  6. As the ranks of freelancers swell, the taxman cometh for those in Arlington
  7. Covid case counts decline to pre-Christmas levels in Arlington
  8. Arlington is phasing out EasyPark devices this month
  9. Girl Scouts bring back more in-person cookie sales, starting this week
  10. Clarendon salon launches gender-neutral pricing model

Feel free to discuss those stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend and stay warm, Arlington!

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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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First SUV tire deflations by environmental activists, now newspaper thefts by omnivorous mammals.

The northern Arlington neighborhood of Rock Spring was the scene of the vulpine larceny over the weekend. As seen in video surveillance footage, a furtive fox dashes down the driveway, with a stolen Sunday edition of the Washington Post firmly secured in his or her snout.

The homeowner, Lynn Pollock, tells ARLnow that the pilfered paper was later found nearby.

“The fox took our paper to a neighbor’s yard behind our house on the other side of a stream and left it in their yard,” she said, noting that such wildlife thievery is new to her but apparently not uncommon in the area.

“We had a [fox] family with kits who grew up under our front porch for five years until we renovated last year. We never saw this activity then,” she said. “However, from responses to my [Nextdoor] post it is clear that newspapers, shoes, baseball mitts as well as dog toys are taken by foxes in the area quite often.”

On the social networking site, neighbors weighed in on the incident.

“The only piece of fox news I have enjoyed is this post,” quipped one local resident.

“Swiper, no swiping!” wrote another, referencing the sneaky antagonist on Dora the Explorer.

Jokes aside, another resident tried to provide a possible explanation for the behavior.

“In all seriousness, that newspaper has only one purpose for that fox and its kit(s),” the resident wrote, before word that the paper was found and recovered. “She will take it to the den and shred it, and it will make amazing, warm bedding material with great absorption, much like dried leaves. She’s done it before, and she knows what works. She was probably taught to do it by her mother. There’s a reason for the expression, ‘sly as a fox!'”

Video courtesy Lynn Pollock

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An angry fox with a taste for human flesh is at large near a park popular with children.

Arlington officials say the fox bit two people — unprovoked — near Lacey Woods Park (1200 N. George Mason Drive) earlier this week and may be rabid. They’re warning residents to steer clear of any fox that “appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive.”

Anyone who sees a fox fitting that description is asked to “call Animal Control immediately at 703-931-9241.”

The fox is not the only critter menacing the denizens of Arlington’s northern neighborhoods. There have been multiple reports of sick and potentially rabid raccoons over the past few months.

More on the latest incident, from an Arlington County press release, below.

A fox exhibiting signs of rabies has been reported near Lacey Woods Park.

Monday, May 10, between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Arlington County Animal Control and the Arlington County Police Department received complaints about a fox aggressively approaching people and dogs around the 1100 block of N. George Mason Drive, the 900 block of N. Frederick Street, and on the Custis Trail between N. George Mason Drive and N. Harrison Street. The incidents are believed to involve the same fox.

The fox had potential contact with two domestic pets and bit two humans unprovoked causing injury. The fox was exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with rabies. The suspect aggressive fox has not been located or captured.

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.

All 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, such as unsecured garbage cans, open containers of food and compost, from yards.

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 at 703-931-9241. Do not attempt to haze or make loud sounds at the animal. Back away slowly while facing the animal at all times.

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

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

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

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Move over Jazz, there’s a new heir to the cute crown in Arlington.

On Easter Sunday at about 5 p.m., an adorable baby red fox — a kit — was caught on camera in the backyard of a residence in the Rock Spring neighborhood, near Jamestown Elementary School.

Sally Granade was at Jamestown Park with her daughter when she got a call from her husband.

“He called and said ‘Oh, this baby fox has been staggering in the yard, I got a bowl of water and put it out and now it’s following me around,” Granade tells ARLnow.

Worried about both the health of the fox and the risk of rabies, she immediately told him not to touch it and they called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Animal control officers arrived in less than 15 minutes, says Granade, and told the family the baby fox was neither sick or injured, simply very young and a bit lost.

It’s thought the kit had wandered from the den, which Granade now believes was under her shed, when mom was out of the house.

“It’s likely that the mom was either out hunting, or she was relocating her kits from one den to another, and the kit happened to make enough noise for the homeowners to notice him,” writes Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson.

AWLA believes the kit was only a few weeks old, meaning it was born in the litter season of late March to early April. They were unable to confirm the sex of the baby, though.

Animal control officers requested a four-sided box to gently place the fox in there, so that it couldn’t wander more and mom could find it when she arrived back.

All Granade had was a wicker basket, hence a cute video of the baby fox squawking in a basket.

The officers departed with a request to keep an eye out for the mother.

Sure enough, only about an hour or two later, the family spotted her.

“We saw what was probably the mother sulking around the background… and, by morning, the baby was gone,” says Granade.

Jones says that Granade and her family did exactly what they should have done, which was to not touch the wild animal and call the professionals immediately.

“It’s very important that the public NEVER touch a wild animal unless they absolutely have to because there are zoonotic diseases that can pass from animal to human,” writes Jones. “If you have to touch the animal (it’s in a very dangerous spot, it’s severely injured, etc.), it’s very important to wear thick gloves or use a towel.”

Foxes are certainly not uncommon in Arlington, but in the past year AWLA has received more calls about them and other wildlife. This has more do with humans than the animals.

“We have had more wildlife calls overall in the past year because so many more people are home during the day and seeing more wildlife that they would normally miss because they are at work,” writes Jones.

This is the time of the year that kits begin venturing out of the dens, so it’s normal to spot them in mid-April, Jones notes.

In general, foxes do not pose a threat to humans, however, if they have rabies, they can be dangerous to pets. While they’re fun to watch, do it a safe distance to keep foxes, pets, and humans all safe, Jones says.

For Granade, it was a memorable Easter Sunday evening for her and her family, helping to reunite a baby fox with its mom.

“I was really impressed with the good job that the Animal Welfare League did,” she says. “They even came back to get the basket.”

Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Vihstadt Helps ‘Our Revolution’ Join CivFed — “One of the strongest voices supporting ORA’s membership was that of John Vihstadt, former County Board member and life-long Republican. Many Republicans today consider organizations such as Our Revolution to be, at the very least, card-carrying members of ‘Antifa’… Vihstadt pointed out that, ‘although he was one of the ‘non-Democrats’ that One Revolution did not support’ in his last political outing, ORA should be admitted to CivFed because it clearly ‘contributes to the civic dialogue.'” [Blue Virginia]

Ballston Business Slated to Go Public — “Privia Health Group, Inc., a technology-driven, national physician enablement company that collaborates with medical groups, health plans and health systems, announced today that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock… Privia Health intends to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol ‘PRVA.'” [BusinessWire]

ACPD Raising Child Abuse Awareness — “April is recognized as both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. ACPD is sharing information on available resources and programs in our community to help raise public awareness about child abuse and sexual violence. In support of efforts to reduce the incidences and severity of child abuse and neglect, many members of ACPD are wearing blue ribbons, pins and bracelets during the month of April.” [ACPD, Twitter]

Animal Control Helps Lost Baby Fox — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “A local homeowner heard a tiny cry coming from their garden and discovered this baby fox, alone and crying for his mother…  Knowing that his mom was very likely somewhere nearby, [animal control officers] placed him into a basket and placed him in a safe spot in the garden. The homeowner kept an eye on him the rest of the day, and we are happy to report that by the next morning, the mother had safely retrieved her baby!” [Facebook]

Goodbye, DCA Gate 35X — “Let’s get right to it: It was a bus station. A bus station in an airport. It was two places you’d rather not be, melded into one place… It was a funnel, a choke point, a cattle call. One gate, as many as 6,000 travelers per day. The ceilings were lower. The seats were all taken, as were the electrical outlets. There was no bathroom down there, no vending machine, no water fountain. Dante’s circles were over-invoked.” [Washington Post]

‘Arlington Superwoman’ Hailed — “She’s helped tons of local families get food on the table but her calling to give back goes way beyond food insecurity for those who are struggling during the pandemic. To some, this Arlington immigrant from El Salvador is a local hero. The struggle Mariflor Ventura has seen first hand brings her to tears.” [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Fox News in Arlington — “An apparently news-starved fox has taken matters into its own paws and has been spotted stealing copies of the Post from the porches of unsuspecting Arlington residents.” [Washingtonian]

In-Person Census Visits Starting — “To achieve a complete count, Census Takers will begin conducting home interviews. Starting the week of July 20 — nearly three weeks before the nationwide August 11 launch date — Census Takers will be visiting homes in Arlington, including an estimated 27,000 households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census.” [Arlington County]

Longtime Local Mail Carrier Dies — Jesus and Luz Collazos “immigrated to the United States and settled in Arlington, Va., where he spent 25 years as a postal worker. They raised a family in a home he bought after admiring it on his delivery route. On June 6, about a year into his retirement, he died of covid-19 at 67.” [Washington Post]

Should Route 29 Become John Lewis Highway? — One idea for the renaming of Lee Highway: name it after Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday. The civil rights leader grew up in Troy, Alabama, for which U.S. Route 29 is the main street. The highway also runs through his congressional district in Georgia. [Twitter]

Deer Rescued from Church Basement — “A huge thank you to Animal Services officers Schindler and D’Eramo from Humane Rescue Alliance for jumping in late last night to help our AWLA officers Ballena and Rose rescue a young deer.” [Facebook]

Synetic’s ‘The Decameron’ Project — “The Decameron, a series of 14th century Italian novellas about surviving the Black Death, is enjoying a surprising renaissance during the current coronavirus crisis… Now, Crystal City’s Synetic Theater, a physical theater troupe that specializes in literary adaptations, usually relying on music and movement to tell stories rather than spoken dialogue, has created a Decameron of its own.” [Washington City Paper]

Region Ascends Tech Rankings — Northern Virginia and the D.C. region are now No. 2 on a list of the top tech talent markets in the United States. [CBRE, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

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