Monday 21 June 2010

Toddler taken to hospital after fox attack

A toddler was taken to hospital in Brighton after reports that he had been injured by a fox, police confirmed today.

The three-year-old boy was either bitten or scratched on the arm as he played outside at a party at Dorothy Stringer pre-school playgroup in Brighton, East Sussex, on Saturday afternoon.

It is believed the child, who has not been named, saw and stroked the tail of an animal which was sticking out from under a temporary building when it turned on him. An RSPCA inspector who attended the scene was unable to find the animal, but was told there had been a fox den in the playground for more than year.

Relatives took the boy to the Royal Sussex county hospital in Brighton where he was treated and released, Sussex police said.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "As far as we are aware it was a fox. People there told us they were aware of a fox who had made his den there and had been living there for a year of so."

She added: "Attacks like this are extremely rare. Foxes will usually shy away from interaction with people. We offer our sincere condolences to the family concerned and we hope for a speedy recovery for the child."

She explained that had a fox been found it would not have been put down but taken away and rereleased elsewhere. She had no information on the extent of the injuries.

A police spokeswoman said: "Police were called by South East Coast Ambulance Service at 12.30pm on Saturday 19 June after a report of a boy being bitten by a fox."

She added: "The boy was taken to the Royal Sussex county hospital by family, where he was treated and released."

A spokeswoman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said: "We were called to the scene but we then were stood down. This would imply that the injuries were not that bad."

The incident comes a fortnight after nine-month-old twins Isabella and Lola Koupparis were attacked after a fox entered their upstairs bedroom in Hackney, east London.

It is thought to have got in through a door on the ground floor of the three-storey house, which was left open because of the hot weather, while the children's parents watched Britain's Got Talent on television.

Both girls have since been discharged from hospital. The twins' four-year-old brother, Max, who was also sleeping upstairs, was not hurt in the attack.

(submitted by Rob Chambers)

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