Tragic twist in the baby-fox-rescue story we reported yesterday. (To review: Volunteer firefighters in Harford County responding to an emergency call in Edgewood Tuesday night saved a small fox trapped in a storm drain. The fox was taken to Chadwell Animal Hospital Wednesday morning, and Phoenix Wildlife Center welcomed the fox once he was stable.) Thoughtful reader “Jeremy” posted this comment yesterday afternoon: “The firefighters should be commended for showing such kindness, but this is far from a cute story now that the Harford County Health Department ordered the fox pup to be euthanized and tested for rabies just because an unknowing kind firefighter touched the pup without gloves. This unfortunately is the reality of what happens if you innocently touch foxes or raccoon babies and Maryland DNR or a health department finds out. So let’s all learn from this and make sure this poor little baby fox did not die without something important being learned.”
Heartbroken, I called the fire station; volunteers hadn’t heard a word. I followed up with Chadwell to confirm that the fox was indeed euthanized, which is sadly true. I contacted David Reiher, Harford County Health Department Rabies and Vector Control Program Coordinator, who declined to comment but sent an official statement via Public Information Officer William Wiseman.