The offspring of the Capitol Hill fox have also been euthanized
Updated April 7, 2022 at 2:48 PM ET
A red fox that was captured Tuesday and responsible for biting at least one journalist and a lawmaker has been euthanized, according to health officials in Washington, D.C.
In addition, three fox kits that were found at the adult fox's den were also humanely euthanized.
"Since the mother tested positive for the rabies virus and the kits could have been exposed during grooming or other means, they were no longer able to be safely rehabilitated and were humanely euthanized," a statement from the DC Department of Health said.
In an email to NPR, the department said Wednesday that there were nine confirmed bites by the adult female fox on Capitol Hill and that it had been "humanely euthanized" to ensure rabies testing could be done.
The DC Public Health lab said Wednesday that the fox tested positive for the rabies virus.
"DC Health is contacting all human victims who were bitten by the fox," DC Public Health told NPR in a statement. "Animal control will post informational flyers around Capitol Hill advising of the fox's positive rabies status and encouraging people who might have been exposed to call DC Health. Anyone who came into physical contact with a fox or its kits, particularly near Capitol Hill, should contact DC Health at 202-442-9143."
The fox was captured at about 3:36 p.m. Tuesday, according to a tweet from the police.
There were many sightings of the fox Monday night, and "then word came in of roughly six bites and/or nips," a Capitol Police spokesperson told NPR over email Tuesday.
The fox was spotted around the Dirksen Senate Office Building and the Russell Senate Office Building, as well as on the House side of the U.S. Capitol, the police spokesperson told NPR.
"[We] just learned people have seen foxes before, but this recent aggressive behavior is unusual," the spokesperson added.
The following message was sent to House members and staff by the Office of the Sergeant at Arms on Tuesday regarding the fox:
Yesterday, the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) received reports of individuals being attacked or bitten by a fox. One encounter was at the Botanic Garden, and a second was on the House side of the Capitol near the building foundation. This morning, USCP received a call about a fox approaching staff near First and C Street NE. There are possibly several fox dens on Capitol Grounds. Animal Control is currently on the grounds seeking to trap and relocate any foxes they find. Foxes are wild animals that are very protective of their dens and territory. Please do not approach any fox you see.
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., was reportedly bitten by the fox Monday night, according to Punchbowl News. Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo said it bit her Tuesday afternoon.
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That feel when you get bit by a fox leaving Capitol cause that’s of course something I expect in THE MIDDLE OF DC.— Ximena (@Ximena_Bustillo) April 5, 2022