'Aggressive' fox caught outside US Congress is euthanised

US capitol police capture sly creature that terrorised the heart of American democracy and bit at least one Congressman

Washington police have captured an "aggressive" fox that stalked the grounds around Congress and threatened passers-by.

Capitol Police said they had received reports on Monday of people "being attacked or bitten" by at least one aggressive canine, in a statement first reported by none other than Fox News.

"One encounter was at the botanic garden, and a second was on the House side of the Capitol near the building foundation," the US Capitol Police said.

Officers apprehended the fox after an hours-long hunt that started on Tuesday morning. "Captured," police boasted on Twitter.

Capitol police urged people not to "approach any foxes", cautioning that they were wild animals.

DC Department of Health told news organisations on Wednesday that the fox was "humanely euthanised" in order for rabies testing to be completed.

"The fox was an adult female and kits were found and captured in the area where the fox was from earlier this morning," a press statement read.

It captured many people's imaginations, with social media users posting pictures of the bandit in and around the Capitol.

Red foxes, the most common of several North American species, are regularly found in towns and cities but tend to avoid people, according to the Washington city government's environmental department.

They typically eat insects, small birds, squirrels and rabbits, and only on the odd occasion have a taste for legislators or their intimidated staffers.

Congressman Ami Bera of California said on Tuesday that he had been attacked by a roving fox outside the US Capitol.

US Congressman Ami Bera said that he was bit by a roving fox outside the US Capitol in Washington. Getty Images / AFP

As a precaution, Mr Bera, who is a doctor, took seven jabs after being bit.

"Rabies is not something you wanna fool around with," he told reporters outside the Capitol.

The House Sergeant at Arms told lawmakers and their staffs on Tuesday afternoon that there had been multiple recent fox encounters and that the animals should not be approached.

The warning noted that there are possibly several fox dens on the Capitol grounds and that animal control personnel would be seeking to trap and locate any that they find.

Relocation plans for the fox remained unclear as of Tuesday afternoon.

The US Capitol grounds lie in the heart of Washington, an urban area of about 700,000 people.

Updated: April 06, 2022, 5:51 PM