Updated Apr 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Hill fox tests positive for rabies after being euthanized

The Capitol Hill fox

The Capitol Hill fox. Photo: Yazan Hanouneh

A fox responsible for nine confirmed bites on Capitol Hill tested positive for rabies on Wednesday after it was euthanized, according to D.C. Health.

The latest: The rampant fox was the talk of the Hill after it reportedly bit two people on Monday, including a lawmaker and a reporter. It was captured by animal control Tuesday in possibly one of the quickest investigations in Capitol Hill history.

  • Non-vaccinated animals must be euthanized to get tested for rabies because brain samples are needed. D.C. Health is now urging anyone who came into physical contact with the fox to reach out to the agency, CBS News reports.
  • The fox's baby foxes, called kits, were discovered on Capitol Hill grounds on Wednesday.

Details: Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) was "nipped on the leg" while walking to his office on Monday, his spokesperson Travis Horne told Axios, who said Bera received several shots, including shots for rabies and tetanus as well as immunoglobulins, "out of an abundance of caution."

  • Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo tweeted she was also bit.
  • The Humane Rescue Alliance, which provides animal control for D.C., caught and caged the fox Tuesday afternoon.

What they're saying: The Capitol was abuzz after security officials sent out alerts about the fox biting people and the possibility of “several fox dens on Capitol Grounds."

  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she had seen it, and she provided video of the encounter to Fox News.
  • "Who gets bit by a fox?" Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) asked while walking into the House chamber for votes.

Red foxes are not uncommon in the District, particularly in Rock Creek Park and, occasionally, downtown and on Capitol Hill.

  • According to the National Parks Service, there’s often a fox den or two on the National Mall.

Of note: If there’s anything D.C. loves, it’s escaped animals, so naturally a Twitter account representing the fox(es) has already cropped up.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with information from the D.C. Health department confirming the fox was euthanized and tested positive for rabies.

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