Politics

Foxes Take the Capitol

The U.S. Capitol Hill police were deployed after at least one congressperson was bitten.

A fox gazing at Capitol Hill.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by lucky-photographer/iStock/Getty Images Plus and GlobalP/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Dens of foxes—upset at Congress’ lack of progress on the most pressing issues of the day—have laid siege to Capitol Hill this week, to bite people.

The first sighting (that I’m aware of) came Monday afternoon, when Mike Macagnone, a reporter for CQ Roll Call, shared this photo of one such majestic creature, havin’ a lil’ day for itself, chasin’ squirrels outside the Russell Senate Office Building.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Such a sweet friend!

Doug Andres, Mitch McConnell’s press secretary, spotted a fox crossing Constitution Ave. Monday evening, returning to the den for a feast of rats and trash after a long day of hearings and votes.

Advertisement
Advertisement

But not all was as innocent as it seemed.

One Washingtonian, who tweeted out their story Monday night, was chased by the fox, which “ran at me like steak, perpendicularly, on my right side.” The person chose to howl at the fox and run backwards in circles to evade its assault.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

“There were 2 good Samaritans that helped me,” this person, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid reprisal from the foxes, told me in a follow-up email. “One female runner who, upon seeing walk towards me, I started crying at when she asked if I was ok. And a L3 Georgetown Law student who walked me towards Capitol Hill police, which felt … excessive but a little important? Encounter could’ve been 2 hours [or] 12 seconds. No clue.”

Not everyone was able to get away.

A House alert sent out to staff Tuesday said that U.S. Capitol Police had received reports “individuals being attacked or bitten by a fox.”

“There are possibly several fox dens on Capitol Grounds,” the alert warned, adding that Animal Control was on the grounds working to “trap and relocate” the foxes.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Among those bitten on Monday night was California Rep. Ami Bera, Punchbowl News reported. He said that after the fox—whose attack he described as “unprovoked”—lunged at him, he spun his umbrella quickly to scare it away. He, too, had selfless witnesses helping him.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“Someone was like ‘hey a fox is attacking that guy,’ ” Bera said.

He got a rabies shot—and six other shots—even though the bite didn’t puncture the skin.

Politico reporter Ximena Bustillo also fell victim to the fox on Tuesday afternoon.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Shortly after 3:30 on Tuesday, Capitol Police tweeted that they had captured one of the dear sweet angels.

The feeling upon this announcement was that the fox search was done, and it was time to move on. But has no one seen a Scream movie? There’s always another fox. Probably several, maybe several hundred. We suggest that members of Congress, rather than trying to “solve” the fox problem, abandon the Capitol and let the foxes run the country. Humans had their chance. It’s time for us to step aside and let the next species give it a whirl.

Advertisement