US Capitol

Fox Captured After Congressman, Woman Bitten Outside US Capitol

A woman told News4 Washington that a fox bit her moments before police captured one near the Capitol on Tuesday

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A fox bit a member of Congress and a woman near the U.S. Capitol, prompting D.C. authorities to capture one of the animals and warn the public about "aggressive fox encounters" on Tuesday.

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) described the moment the fox "nipped" his leg on Monday to NBC News.

"[I] felt something lunge at the back of my leg. Thought it was going to be a small dog or something. Kind of jumped and then it's like, that's not a dog. It's a fox," Bera said. "You know, somebody started saying, 'Hey, there's a fox attacking that guy.'"

"The fox pierced Rep. Bera’s suit, but it was inconclusive whether or not the fox pierced his skin," a spokesperson for Bera's office said.

Bera went to Walter Reed Hospital Monday night to receive the appropriate shots out of an abundance of caution.

"As a doctor himself, Rep. Bera encourages everyone to stay vigilant around wild animals and to speak with their physician if they get bitten," the spokesperson said.

Animal control officers captured one fox — a little guy seen peering up from inside a cage — at 3:35 p.m. Tuesday. It's not clear if the fox that was captured was the animal that bit people or if any additional foxes are believed to be a threat.

Moments before the capture, a woman told News4 a fox bit her on the ankle.

"I was walking and the fox ran up behind me and clipped my ankle with its mouth," Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo said. "I screamed."

U.S. Capitol Police received “several reports of aggressive fox encounters on or near the grounds of the U.S. Capitol,” the department said before 1 p.m. Tuesday.

If you see a fox, don't go near it, they advised.

"Do not approach. Stay away. Call animal control, call the professionals and they'll handle it like they handled it this afternoon," U.S. Capitol Police spokesperson Tim Barber said.

People who work on the Hill reported sightings. One photo shows a slender fox on a sidewalk; another shows a fox on a lawn near what the photographer said was the Russell Senate Office Building.

Animal sightings near the Capitol and National Mall aren’t unheard of; a wild coyote was spotted in East Potomac Park in 2020

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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