The fox had just been passing through, with no apparent den nearby, when it was discovered injured on a sidewalk at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, a few blocks southwest of 27th Street and Pine Lake Road.
A Lincoln Animal Control officer took it to a veterinarian, who found an entrance wound in its side. The vet ordered X-rays, which revealed it had been shot with a projectile, like a pellet, said Steve Beal, animal control manager.
But by then, it was too late for the younger adult male fox. “The animal was in pretty bad shape at that time,” he said, and the vet made the decision to euthanize it.
Now, Beal’s office is trying to find who pulled the trigger near the 7200 block of Helen Witt Drive.
“We have no idea who would be responsible for this,” he said. “If someone did shoot this fox in an intentional manner, we’d investigate this as an animal cruelty case.”
The shooter could also face charges for shooting a pellet gun inside the city limits, and state wildlife violations, too, such as taking a wild animal without a hunting license, and wanton waste, for leaving it on the sidewalk. Animal Control is collaborating with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in this case, Beal said.
It's not unusual for foxes to move through Lincoln, especially near the edges of the city. But Beal said he hadn't heard of any recent complaints of the animals in that area.
“You are getting on the fringe,” he said, “and there are some green spaces in that area.”
He asked that anyone with information on the case call Animal Control at 402-441-7900.