A fox exhibiting signs of rabies bit two people Monday in unprovoked attacks near Lacey Woods Park in Arlington.
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, county officials said in a news release.
The fox had potential contact with two domestic pets and bit two humans unprovoked causing injury, the release said. 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 while the fox remains on the loose.
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.