A gray fox, injured and possibly ill, was humanely euthanized after a few good Samaritans guided the little animal out of traffic in Northampton on Friday, according to authorities.
A Northampton Animal Control officer saw the group of people guide the fox out of traffic near Smith College, jumped into action to help them and was able to capture the small animal. Once it was taken back to the station, it was assessed for injuries and signs of illness, Animal Control said in a Facebook post.
It was “immediately clear” to staff at Animal Control the young fox “was not behaving like a normal, heathy wild animal,” according to the post. Because of the high risk of disease exposure, the animal was humanely euthanized and brought to the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory to be tested for rabies.
Animal Control noted at this time of year, thousands of young wild animals are coming into the world, some of whom “will inevitably find themselves in a pickle.”
“Some are injured by humans, pets, or vehicles. Some are orphaned. Some fall ill and are abandoned by their parents,” Animal Control said in its post. “We get it. They’re adorable. They’re tiny. They need help. But they – especially foxes – also carry serious diseases that can be fatal to humans if left untreated.”
The rabies virus is prevalent in the state’s wildlife population, and humans are not immune to it. Animal Control urges people to keep their distance and call a professional if they see a wild animal in need.