The fox attack in England sensationalist reporting is getting to be a bit much. Other than the toddlers, these are very small encounters.
A toddler was recovering at home today after being attacked by fox at a playgroup in Brighton.
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, stroked the tail of an animal that was sticking out from under a temporary building, when it turned on him. The playgroup was closed today. In a statement it said: “We can confirm that a child suffered injuries after being attacked by a fox at an event on our premises at the weekend.”
It said foxes had existed in the area for sometime, but the playgroup had not taken action because wildlife experts had advised that they were not a danger to people.
An RSPCA inspector who attended the scene was unable to find the animal.
Relatives took the boy to the Royal Sussex county hospital in Brighton where he was treated and released, according to Sussex police. He is now recovering at home, the playgroup said.
Its statement added: “We have been in touch with Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] and also with a local pest control company, which is due to visit this afternoon to give advice on the action we should take.”
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 or 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.”
The spokeswoman explained that had a fox been found, it would not have been put down but taken away and re-released 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 were then stood down. This would imply that the injuries were not that bad.”
Trevor Weeks, founder of the charity East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, called for a proportionate response to the attack.
He said: “It has been known for years by the educational authorities that foxes live under makeshift buildings at schools, so it should come as no surprise there was a fox present.
“The fox did not attack the child – it was defending itself. There is a significant difference. Any wild animal is going to turn round and bite if you grab its tail.”
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.