A family of foxes had made its home on the grounds of the Belgian ambassador’s residence. There, the mother fox and her little kits were adored by the ambassador and his wife.
All was well until a clash with a rival raccoon family dwelling in the yard of the neighboring Spanish ambassador’s home, one of our trusted Loop sources told us. The mother fox apparently killed the raccoon babies and fed them to her own young.
Quelle horreur! Wars have begun on lesser grounds.
Belgian Embassy spokesman Joris Totte tells us that, indeed, the ambassador and his wife have been delighted to host the fox family. In fact, they’ve even taken great pains to protect the four-legged clan from partygoers attending functions at the residence. The ambassador, an avid shutterbug who enjoys nature photography, has snapped many photos of the wildlife.
And the Spaniards confirm there’s a fox that’s known to roam the grounds.
But the incidence of intra-species violence remains shrouded in mystery. Totte says — as do representatives of the Spanish Embassy — that there’s been no fox-on-raccoon violence that they know of.
Do we detect an international coverup?
We growled, they listened
Score one for Fido!
United Airlines has told the State Department and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) that it will extend its military rate for pet travel to Foreign Service officers assigned abroad.
An April 18 Loop item noted that UAL had given a waiver to members of the military when it newly classified dogs and cats as cargo instead of excess baggage — a change that could run transport costs from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Because of its size and federal requirements that officers use U.S. carriers, United is often the only option.
The AFSA members protested that they should be included in the waiver. Former commerce secretary Gary Locke, now ambassador to China, weighed in with a letter to the airlines.
Members of Congress, including Reps.
Chris Van Hollen
Donna F. Edwards
(D-N.Y.) and D.C. Delegate
Eleanor Holmes Norton
(D), wrote UAL executives last week urging they extend the waiver to the Foreign Service.
The effort apparently paid off. A senior UAL official called Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy on April 18 and AFSA President Susan Johnson the next day to tell them the military waiver would be extended.
AFSA’s not been talking about it, one official said, because they were “still waiting for something in writing before we make it official,” and that the organization hoped to get written confirmation this week. Unclear if the new policy also applies to employees of other agencies who are stationed at embassies.