EDGEWOOD, Md. (WJZ) — A sad ending in a high-profile animal rescue story that unfolded this week in Harford County.
A baby fox rescued from a storm drain by a group of volunteer firefighters earlier this week has been euthanized so it can be tested for rabies.
WJZ’s media partner, the Baltimore Sun, reports members of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department may have been exposed to the disease even though no on was bitten or scratched. The fox had stayed with the firefighters overnight until help could be found.
Health officials say the fox was also suffering from “water on the brain.”
The pup was picked up from the Phoenix Wildlife Center by health officials on Wednesday and euthanized.
The health department said that while it “appreciates the well-intentioned and successful animal-rescue efforts” of the fire crew, rabies exposure “remains a critical consideration” whenever humans have contact with foxes, raccoons, skunks or bats.
“The greater concern in incidents such as this is less about the animal than for public health and safety,” the department said in a statement to the Sun.
If rabies is identified in the baby fox, the health department will conduct a risk assessment for everyone who came into contact with the animal.