WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., was bitten by a fox this week while walking to the Capitol for votes and is now undergoing a series of rabies shots out of an abundance of caution.
"As the infectious disease doctor said… 'Even if it’s just a scratch you don’t want to risk getting rabies,’" Bera told KCRA 3.
Bera represents Sacramento County and is a medical doctor himself.
Bera said he felt something lunge at him from behind on Monday as he walked near one of the Senate office buildings. He turned and used his umbrella to fend off what he thought would be a small dog.
But he quickly realized the four-legged creature was a wild animal.
Bera said the encounter lasted about 15 seconds. A bystander yelled and the fox fled as U.S. Capitol Police officers ran up on the scene.
He didn't see any evidence of puncture wounds, but didn't want to take any chances so he went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to get his rabies shots.
Capitol Police tweeted pictures of one fox safely captured in a cage.
Bera told KCRA that he harbored no ill will toward the fox.
"Hopefully, the animal can be relocated," he said told the station. "We want to be compassionate because it probably was protecting its den and its litter."
On Tuesday, Bera tweeted that he was feeling good and back at work.
This story was reported in Sacramento and written in Oakland, Calif.