CONCORD, New Hampshire — First, it was bears. Now, it’s a fox: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has stepped in to help save a domesticated fox that was brought across state lines from Massachusetts and wanted back for possible euthanization.
“Once our office learned that Massachusetts officials were considering euthanization, Governor Sununu worked with [the Department of] Fish and Game to find an appropriate rehabilitation center in New Hampshire where it would remain safe pending health monitoring,” Sununu’s office said.
The fox was raised by a family in Dracut and then released back into the wild, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. It was captured by a Massachusetts resident who brought the fox into New Hampshire to a wildlife rehabilitator, the agency said in a statement released Wednesday.
MassWildlife biologists and the Massachusetts Environmental Police “take seriously any instance where a highly habituated animal that could carry rabies has close direct contact with people and wild animals,” according to the energy and environmental affairs statement. “Therefore, the agencies then requested that the fox be returned to Massachusetts to be euthanized and tested for rabies.”
With the exception of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, it is illegal to care for wildlife in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts agencies eventually decided to “respect the wishes of the State of New Hampshire” that the fox stay at the rehabilitation center, according to the statement.
The 12-pound fox has been at the Millstone Wildlife Center in Windham for nearly two weeks, executive director Frannie Greenberg said. He has been quarantined and has been vaccinated for rabies and distemper. He’s “doing great,” Greenberg said.
“Our fingers are crossed that maybe we can have a wild fox when we’re done,” she said.
In 2017, a mother bear and her cubs had been set to be euthanized after repeated problems with them feeding from trash and bird feeders culminated in two bears entering a home in Hanover. Sununu instead ordered them to be moved to far northern New Hampshire.