A fox that frightened two local families and caused the closing of Don Ball Park on Thursday, April 10, was caught and euthanized.
Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas said at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, police received a call from Schurman Drive of an animal chasing a child. Officers responded and spoke to the mother, who said her 9-year-old son was playing in the back yard. “She observed a fox circling her son,” Thomas said. The woman alerted her son, who decided to run to the house.
The fox chased him, Thomas said, “and the mother threw something at it. She thought she scared it away.”
When the woman went to her son to escort him back to the house, the fox chased them both, Thomas said. The woman picked up a shovel and swung at the fox, who ran into the nearby bushes.
The woods behind the woman’s home, and Schurman Drive, connect to recreation fields on Humphrey Road, Don Ball Park, and the baseball fields behind Derry Village Elementary School, Thomas said.
The following afternoon at around 3:45 p.m., the police received another call, this one from Don Ball Park, where a 5-year-old girl was reported as bitten on the ankle by the fox. Derry Police responded with the assistance of New Hampshire Fish and Game. Police issued a public safety announcement to residents of Schurman Drive, Cemetery Road, Dexter Street, and South Main Street, as well as to the area around the park.
The police evacuated Don Ball Park. The park and the outdoor areas at Derry Village School and West Running Brook Middle School were closed to the public during the search for the fox, but were later reopened.
Derry police recommend that parents be attentive to their children and pets when they are outdoors. Wildlife, which are frequently spotted in Derry, typically avoid contact with humans, and, the press release stated, “It is best to keep a safe distance from them as well.”
Those observing a fox or other animal behaving aggressively or attempting to approach people are advised to call Derry Animal Control at 432-6111.
Thomas said Monday that the fox was located and euthanized by the Fish and Game Department, which cooperated with the trapping of the animal. Upon examination at the state lab, it was determined that the fox had rabies, he said. The 5-year-old girl who was bitten on Friday is doing well but being treated for rabies, he said.