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Foxes Gone Wild: Creatures Blamed for Missing Newspapers

Foxes in Oakdale Park remain at-large following numerous newspaper thefts.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
The Oakdale Park neighborhood of Vienna is no stranger to foxes being out and about, but this year the four-legged fiends have been especially active. One result: a recurring pattern of Washington Post newspapers pilfered by foxes before homeowners have a chance to retrieve them.

The neighbors are howling.

Numerous residents have been sharing news of their missing news on neighborhood mailing lists, all reporting that they've been awakening to discover the thefts. Others have reported seeing foxes walking down their street, paper in mouth, then disappearing into the woods only to return and retrieve another newspaper.

"We have always had a lot of foxes in the neighborhood, but this year they have been especially brazen- out more in the daytime and on peoples' porches and patios and in the streets," said local resident Deborah Reyher. 

"I also can't say whether it's just one that has become enamored of newspapers or if this has become a clan enterprise, but it is keeping our neighborhood amused."

Regardless of how many foxes are in on the act, there's little the neighborhood can do.

A spokesman for Fairfax County Animal Control Services said the department would likely not respond to such calls unless the foxes were sick or injured or putting people in harm's way. The spokesman did note that the neighborhood could call pest control to have the foxes relocated. 

One resident said in the email thread that he contacted The Washington Post about the issue, and the Post was not surprised by it. When the Post offered to pass a message regarding the problem along to that neighborhood's carrier, the resident suggested the newspapers be tossed closer to the front doors of homes to make them less noticeable -- to out-fox the foxes.

Reyher noted that the Post "has been pretty good about giving out replacements."

Another resident suggested recreating the neighborhood watch under a new title: "Fox Watch." But to this point, the neighbors have not rallied against the thieves.

Some residents have decided to adjust their morning routines. Many neighbors admitted in the thread to waking up earlier in order to beat the foxes to their morning newspaper.

Other residents, though, have seemed to accept their fate and make light of the unusual string on incidents.

"At 6:00AM this morning, while walking the dog, I thought I saw a Warewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand," one resident wrote on the email thread, "but it was only a fox doing the NY times crossword."
TBC August 01, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Here in Herndon we've had hundreds of golf balls taken from our yard over the years but touch our Barron's and the foxes are in for trouble!
Fran Griffin August 02, 2013 at 07:47 PM
I see a fox almost every time I drive on McHenry between Park and Cedar (in south Vienna). Twice over the last few weeks, it has had something in it mouth -- but definitely not a newspaper -- more like its lunch. I am more worried about cats and small dogs than about newspapers.
Fran Griffin August 02, 2013 at 07:49 PM
What I saw in its mouth was not a cat or dog, but a small mammal. But the foxes I see in Vienna (including in my yard once) are scrawny, so I would be very careful about letting a cat out.
Michelle Coon August 04, 2013 at 12:46 PM
The papers are probably nesting materials...
Patricia Blais-Cohen October 22, 2013 at 05:44 PM
We have two that play in our yard in Alexandria. They actually took my husband's CROCS (which are kept by the backdoor) to play with. They treated them like chew toys! I find the smallest of the two sleeping on the couch on my back patio from time to time. They seem harmless and comical to watch.

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