Washington DC’s Capitol Hill has been inhabited by different animals such as birds or even foxes. A mother fox and her three kits have recently made home here. It wasn’t until Tuesday, April 5 that a capture and euthanization was necessary.

From the days prior, there had been several reports to animal control of a wild fox attacking and biting local citizens. A small investigation proceeded, but was quickly concluded after they discovered this female fox had three babies, or kits, and was only attempting to protect her den if people got too close.

After a total of nine reports, officials reopened the investigation. They realized the red fox had been wandering much farther away from her den than most mothers would. She was “traveling blocks to attack people” and away from the immediate area of her den.

Animal Control captured her with a net and brought her into the health lab at about 3:30pm on Tuesday.

The DC Department of Health announced that the fox had been “humanely euthanized” in order to test for rabies. She tested positive.

This meant bad news for several individuals. All the people who were attacked are at high risk. One person attacked was Congressman Ami Bera, who is a California Representative. He shared his story of the attack during a short interview on Monday.

Bera was walking by the Russell Senate Office Building when he felt something pounce on his leg. Expecting a small dog, the sight of a bright red fox startled him. He swatted the fox away with his umbrella immediately. Shortly after, he visited a physician that didn’t see any signs of blood or puncture wounds. Bera wanted to be safe, so he questioned a different doctor who advised him a series of ten vaccines, which he’s already begun.

Everyone else who reported being attacked were notified about the rabies exposure, plus posters are being hung all around Capitol Hill so people are aware.

The three kits aren’t as lucky. DC Health uncovered the kits from their den and brought them into a lab. It was determined that the kits might’ve been exposed to rabies through grooming or feeding or any other contact with the infected mother, so it was unsafe to rehabilitate them. They were also “humanely euthanized”.

While most people are relieved that the threat of rabies is gone, some are saddened to hear of the fox’s death. A twitter account has been publicized, @thecapitolfox, that has gained thousands of followers even while seemingly satire. They're arguing against the results of the positive rabies test, but they also hosted a small memorial at Capitol Hill, complete with flowers, candles, and a picture of the fox.

The account speaks on behalf of the mother fox, saying “Gone but not forgotten. May you remember me fondly.” They also quoted poems and song lyrics.

The euthanization of four young foxes is sorrowful, but circumstances required it for the greater good of not spreading rabies. May they rest in peace.