Saturday, April 24, 2010
Karen Stone had packed up and gone home for the day when she got a call last week from the Plainfield, Conn., police department. Something about three fox heads sticking up outside of the storm grate.
Stone, an officer with the Plainfield Animal Control, drove out to the grate to assess the situation, and heard from nearby residents that the baby foxes, just a few weeks old, had been stuck there for two days.
"Aren't they adorable? They were feisty little buggers!" Stone tells PEOPLEPets.com. "I don't know how they got their heads out through there. What we think they did was, they got into the drain opening from the field where they live, and they traveled under the road. They must have come up where they saw the air."
Unable to rescue the fox cubs on her own, Stone called in the fire department's help. They first tried to lift the grate up with the crowbar, and the little foxes, still stuck, could only dangle in the wind.
It was raining and had gotten dark, but a crowd of 50 or 60 people gathered around to watch the rescue efforts. Neighbors started bringing out Vaseline (didn't work), corn oil (neither did that). The firemen discussed cutting through the grate, but that would have certainly cut through the foxes' necks.
Finally, someone brought out a bottle of Dawn dish detergent, which got the foxes' necks slippery enough for Stone to poke their ears through the holes. Their heads popped out into a fireman's arms below.
"Every time I tried to poke their heads through, they were biting at me — thank goodness I had my bite-proof gloves!" Stone says. "At one point, I thought I was going to lose one of them, he was kind of listless, but he perked up when I poked his head. The mother was screaming from her den the whole time."
Stone put the foxes into a dog crate and walked them up to the den, where she returned them to their mother, who had been visiting her cubs and had dropped a little dead mouse beside the grate, possibly in an attempt to feed them.
The foxes, covered in soap, and suffering from some stiff necks and hunger, were otherwise fine and didn't need to be rehabilitated. Stone and the foxes' neighbors have been by the grate several times just to make sure no other little heads are stuck there — though Stone doubts she'll ever see anything like that again.
"Everybody that got to the scene just turned their necks a little and went, 'Huh?'" Stone says. " To have three of them, looking up — this ranks right up at the top of events in my career."