Authorities in Arlington said they have rescued an injured fox after it got a fishhook stuck in its leg.

An animal control division received a call around 5 p.m. Saturday about the fox, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington said. A family hiking along the Potomac Heritage trail had seen the fox in the bushes and realized he was stuck.

When Animal Control Officer Cliff Ballena went to check, the family walked him about 15 minutes down from the trail’s start and showed him the fox. Ballena noticed the animal “had a fishhook stuck in its leg, and several large gashes elsewhere on its body,” the shelter said. He estimated the fox was about a year old.

Ballena used a piece of equipment known as a “control pull” to keep the fox from biting him as he cut the wire on the fishhook. The fishhook and the wire had gotten stuck to the bush, officials said.

Ballena then took the fox to Wildlife Vet Care, where he underwent surgery to get the hook out and to stitch other cuts on his legs. Officials with the wildlife group said the fox probably “injured himself trying to escape the bush,” according to Chelsea Jones, a spokeswoman with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

The fox is doing well and will be released “back into the wild very soon” when its stitches heal, according to the animal welfare group.

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