By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The pile of animal carcasses discovered in a wooded area of Frederick County this week appears to be the remains of foxes, not dogs and cats as originally reported by animal control officers there.
Officials continue to examine the remains, which were found on private land in the Point of Rocks community near the Potomac River. But the idea that someone left behind dozens of dead pets no longer seems to be a possibility.
On Tuesday, a man looking for wild mushrooms found the pile, estimated at two feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide. The animals appeared to have been placed there at least a month ago. Speaking with reporters Thursday, two animal control officers in Frederick said the bones were those of at least 70 dogs and two cats.
Yesterday, a state veterinarian, Virginia Pierce, began examining skulls from the pile. She determined that 60 of the skulls were those of red foxes or gray foxes, said Harold Domer, director of the Frederick County Animal Control Division. Pierce is expected to examine 12 to 14 more skulls, probably early next week.
Domer said yesterday that the skulls of foxes and certain dogs look similar. He did not know whether people had been trapping foxes in the area. Michael Douglas, a Frederick animal control officer, said people legally and illegally trap foxes in the area for fur.
Douglas said he suspected that a trapper took the pelts off the foxes and piled the carcasses. "Who else would have that many foxes?" he asked.
Douglas said the landowner, a developer, did not know how the carcasses got on the land. The pile was accessible by a path wide enough for a truck.