A fox bit a baby's finger off in Southeast London Wednesday, viciously attacking the sleeping 1-month-old from his crib. The child, Denny Dolan, was saved by his mother, Hayley Cawley, who heard her child's screams and "wrestled" the animal off the baby.
The fox who bit the baby during the attack entered through a back door in Bromley, in the borough of Lewisham. Denny Doland was sleeping in his crib when the creature dragged him out. Cawley was alerted to the animal when the child began crying, and came in to the fox biting her baby's hand.
"She said the fox was on the baby and she tried to pull the fox from the baby and the baby was trying to wrestle with her. She was shaking," a neighbor, Paula Wellington, told The Telegraph UK.
"The mum was hysterical, she could hardly say anything to me," Wellington added. "But then she kept saying, 'A fox attacked my baby, a fox attacked my baby.'"
An ambulance came and delivered the child to St. Thomas Hospital for the injuries. In addition to the severed finger, little Denny Dolan had puncture wounds on his face, possibly from a bite. Fortunately, after an "extremely difficult" 3-hour surgery, surgeons were able to reattach the severed finger, according to Daily Mail.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said that the fox attack should serve as a catalyst to action, particularly on the parts of local councils and pest control.
"They may appear cuddly and romantic but foxes are also a pest and menace, particularly in our cities," Johnson told BBC News. "This must serve as a wake-up call to London's borough leaders, who are responsible for pest control. They must come together, study the data, try to understand why this is becoming such a problem and act quickly to sort it out."
The data, however, points to fox attacks as infrequent, according to U.K. organization the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"It's not typical fox behavior at all. Foxes will come closer to a house if there are food sources," a RSPCA spokeswoman told BBC. "They usually do back off and run away when there's people around."
A Lewisham Council representative agreed, calling the attack "tragic, but rare." Their current response is to educate citizens on the dangers of keeping litter and food around their residences, and reminding people to close windows and doors.
Paul Dolan and Hayley Cawley, parents of the wounded Denny Dolan, are said to be by the child's side while he is "recovering well," according to The Daily Star.