Police officers shoot, kill hairless fox

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A hairless fox that has disrupted life in Steamboat Springs neighborhoods for more than a year is dead.

Steamboat Springs police shot the fox Sunday afternoon while it ate a burrito. The fox apparently stole the burrito from the cab of a nearby pickup, police said.

The fox was in a parking lot at the southeast corner of Village Drive and Walton Creek Road at the time, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said. After it was killed, it was turned over to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Police officers recently were given the order to destroy the animal because it bit a Steamboat Springs man a few weeks ago. The man was trying to rescue his cat from the fox when the incident happened.

DOW officials agreed that killing the animal was consistent with policy, as the fox had made human contact, Rae said.

An officer saw the fox in the middle of last week but could not kill the animal because of traffic and pedestrians in the area.

At 5:22 p.m. Sunday, a group of residents called police reporting that they could see the hairless fox. Police responded and shot the fox with a rifle.

Sightings of hairless foxes, which look painfully skinny without their hair, likely will not end.

"We think there's more than one," Rae said.

Police killed a female hairless fox on Sunday, but an obviously male hairless fox was photographed earlier in the year, he said.

Police are confident that the fox they killed was responsible for the biting, mostly because it was found on Sunday a block away from the site of the biting incident.

Rae encouraged people to call police if they see another hairless fox and feel that they or their pets are threatened.

"We'll just keep monitoring the situation," Rae said.

DOW officials said last year that the hairless fox could have been responsible for disappearances of a number of residential cats, and that the hairless fox might have had mange or another skin disorder.

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