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Officers out to keep sickly fox from prowling on festival grounds

October 10, 2013

WOONSOCKET – Animal control officials have been chasing after a sickly-looking fox for days, hoping to corral the furry four-legger before Autumnfest crowds begin pouring into World War II Park.

“That’s one of the areas it seems to be frequenting,” said Animal Control Officer Doris Kay.

A policeman fired a .22-caliber rifle at the fox off Gaskill Street earlier this week and nicked the animal on the nose, but it escaped, she said.

Kay doesn’t think the gray fox is rabid, because it would almost certainly have died by now. Calls from concerned citizens first started coming in about three weeks ago, but rabies would have killed the animal in about three days after symptoms appeared.

The animal displays little fear of exploring places that normally belong to people. It’s been reported trotting through backyards, pillaging trash bins and rummaging about city parks. “Without exaggeration,” Kay said, at least 15 residents have reported sightings, and she and Animal Control Officer Glen Thuot spent about three hours on Wednesday chasing after the fox.

The hunt for the creature took them from Cold Spring Park, to Harris School off North Main Street, Clinton Street police headquarters, Kendrick Avenue, Rathbun Street and then some. At one point, she said, the fox darted out in front of the animal control van.

“We almost ran it over yesterday,” Kay said. “We know we’re following the same fox because every time we see it it’s got that same nick on the nose.”

Kay isn’t sure what’s ailing the fox, but she said the animal is suffering from visible loss of hair and its eyes are so full of fluid she isn’t sure the animal can see very well.

Anyone who sees the animal should do everything possible to avoid coming into contact with it. Don’t try to catch it, she said, but call the police at 766-1212.

Follow on Twitter @russolivo

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