Officials' hunt for hairless fox is on

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The days may be numbered for Steamboat's renowned hairless fox.

Steamboat Springs Public Safety Director J.D. Hays said the fox has become a nuisance to residents and is considered to be a threat to people.

Hays said the fox bit a Steamboat Springs man two or three weeks ago on Whistler Road. The fox was attacking the man's cat and then bit the man on the hand as the man tried to rescue the cat. The cat survived.

Hays said there may be more than one hairless fox in the area; there have been numerous sightings of the animal reported at the same time in different areas.

Hays said because the animal has been documented attacking residents, it must be destroyed.

Police officers have been advised that if they see the animal, they are to destroy it if they can do so safely.

Police Capt. Joel Rae said that an officer came in contact with the animal a few nights ago on Walton Creek Road, but he could not kill the animal because of traffic and pedestrians in the area.

Hays has contacted the Colorado Division of Wildlife and received the agency's permission to destroy the animal.

"It's a wild animal," Hays said. "It will hurt you."

Hays advises residents who come in contact with the animal not to confront it or try to capture it but to call the police.

"People need to take precaution around this animal. Don't feed it and don't get close to it," he said.

Although Hays has never seen the awkward looking animal, he said the animal reportedly is not threatened by people and will even let spectators get close to it.

Hays is not sure whether the animal is even a fox.

"I don't think it's a fox," he said. "I think it's a mix of a greyhound and a fox or a hyena, but it is too big to be a fox."

Hays said the community and law enforcement agencies have been tolerant of the animal before but can no longer exercise the same tolerance.

--To contact Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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