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Aggressive fox euthanized after biting 5-year-old at Derry playground, police say

Union Leader Correspondent

April 10. 2014 9:16PM

DERRY -- An aggressive fox that bit a 5 year-old at a local playground was euthanized Thursday after it was captured following an extensive search by police and wildlife officials.

It was the second such incident in two days as police also received a report of an aggressive fox on Wednesday night on Schurman Drive, Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas said in a press release.

In that incident, the animal reportedly circled a 9-year-old boy as he was playing in the backyard. His mother, who was watching, told police her son ran toward the house and the fox chased him, knocking him to the ground. His mother threw something at the fox and it backed off, only to chase the woman and her son again as they headed toward their house, Thomas said. Finally, the woman swung a shovel at the fox and the animal ran off and didn't return, Thomas said.

Then on Thursday at around 3:45 p.m., Derry police received a call of an aggressive fox that had bitten a 5-year-old girl on the ankle at Don Ball Park on Humphrey Road, Thomas said. Police responded to the area and, with assistance from New Hampshire Fish and Game, after an extensive search, found the animal in a wooded area off of Cemetery Road. The fox was then euthanized, Thomas said.

During the search the for the fox, police issued a public safety announcement to area residents of the Schurman Drive, Cemetery Road, Dexter Street, South Main Street and as well as the area around Don Ball Park on Humphrey Road. As a further precaution, Don Ball Park and all outside areas of the West Running Brook School and Derry Village School were closed to activities during the search; these areas have now been re-opened, Thomas said.

Derry police are recommending that residents be attentive to their children and pets when outdoors. Wild animals typically avoid contact with people, and it is best to keep a safe distance from them as well, Thomas said. If anyone observes a fox or other animal behaving aggressively or attempting to approach people or pets they should go inside and contact Derry Animal Control.

Information wasn't available at press time as to whether the fox was rabid. The condition of the 5-year-old girl also wasn't available.

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