Foxes

This is Premium content. You'll need to logged in to view it. Access is only available to our Full Members and Subscribers.

NB:The system can't recognise whether you have the necessary access rights unless you are logged in

If you don't have an account, or don't have sufficient access rights to view the content, please refer to the About Membership page in the About menu

Good morning Will

I've pasted a copy of my standard reply when foxes are reported as a nuisance. IT may be that, as freeholder the council has a 'duty to deter' but, I cant' see eviction being successful as other foxes will simply move into the space left behind.

 

Dear Sir

I’m sorry that you are experiencing problems with urban foxes.

Foxes are not classified as vermin and Croydon Council follow the London Fox Code, published by the London Wildlife Trust, which states that ‘foxes are a desirable part of London's wild life heritage and control is unnecessary. Control will only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances.’ As yet the council has not come across any exceptional circumstances.

The number of foxes has not increased over the years but they have steadily lost their wariness of humans and have changed their natural nocturnal behaviour due to food being available for them at all times of the day – this has resulted in them being more visible during the day, and has also resulted in them venturing closer to humans and even into houses. They may seem to be totally fearless but they are not – they know they can run a lot faster than we can which is why we can sometimes get closer to them than in the past, but they will not approach closely and will run from humans if we get too close.

Foxes are territorial and removing one or a pair from an area is costly and ineffective as other foxes will very quickly claim the vacant territory as their own. They breed in numbers to replace those lost during the previous year and the population is largely self-regulating. Using poisons to kill them would be a risk to humans and pets, and ineffective for the same reasons as stated above. Putting down contraceptives is untried, and would again pose a risk to humans and pets. Urban foxes live an average of 2 years, and are therefore replaced on a regular basis, so currently having a fox or foxes in the garden which are relatively unwary of humans does not mean this will continue – the next fox to take over the territory may well be very wary.

Incidents of foxes attacking dogs and cats are extremely rare, although they have been known to take small pet animals such as rabbits etc. Attacks on humans are virtually unheard of and apart from the attack on twin babies a couple of years ago have not been substantiated. This is in contrast to the hundreds of people who require hospital treatment for dog bites each year.

Foxes can suffer from mange but this is only passed to humans via close contact with an infected animal. They can cause a nuisance from fouling in gardens but this will not pose a public health issue providing normal hygiene practices are followed after having been out in the garden, particularly when removing faeces. If foxes do foul in a garden care should also be taken with domestic pets as they can pick up worms (as they can from dog and cat faeces which they may encounter elsewhere).

There are a number of measures to deter foxes from entering gardens, which include:

· avoid scattering food on patio and lawn areas

  • use proprietary chemical deterrents available at specialist garden centres or hardware stores (please observe the manufacturer's instructions on the label)
  • ensure that small pet animals that are kept outside are housed in suitable and secure enclosures
  • keep dustbin areas clean and tidy and avoid spillages. Use suitable bins with close-fitting lids. The use of a disinfectant powder in refuse bins will help to deter foxes.

· ensure boundary fences are in good repair and reinforced where necessary

Specialist advice on fox deterrents can be obtained from the Fox Project (details below).

The Fox Project

Telephone

01892 824111 - office hrs

 

The Lodge
Kings Toll Road
Pembury
Kent TN2 4BE

Website

www.foxproject.org.uk

The Fox Project - Southern Wildlife Ambulance Network

www.foxproject.org.uk

The Fox Project is a registered charity dedicated to the Red Fox. Charity no. 1044928. Mobile Ambulance 01892 731565 (9.00am – 9.00pm Daily) If calling outside ...

Another useful website is Foxolutions.co.uk which sells our recommended deterrents Scoot and Get Off My Garden, and also a selection of items to fox-proof garden fences etc.

Finally, dead foxes on the road can be reported using the on-line ‘report it’ system on our website www.croydon.gov.uk and following the link for reporting dead animals on the highway, or by calling 020 8726 6000, they are then quickly removed.

On inspection of a home unused for over a decade, I found foxes living within the building. They were sleeping upstairs on a bed. downstairs was like a fox sewage treatment works. I was impressed how they didn't fould upstairs. I found no evidence of rats or mice actionable under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, but checked with our lawyers before applying section 83 of the Public Health Act 1936. The lawyers initially said the property could not be 'verminous' because I was explicit about the absence of rats and mice. Some assume that vermin means rats and rice, exclusively. We decided that foxes in a house could be classed as 'vermin' under the Act. The Act does not define 'vermin' but simply clarifies a particular aspect of vermin realting to insect pests. we felt that the fox was an animal that was capable of being destructive and disease carrying, totally out of place in a house. We were also happy to say that foxes destroy game. Further, we asserted that the presence of fox crap satified the 'filthy' limb of the Act. We finally decided that the presence of foxes within the house had made the property in such a condition so as to be prejudicial to health (under PHA36, but not EPA90). We required the removal of fox crap under Notice. We also required steps to be taken to prevent further foxy faecal contamination by evicting the foxes and preventing their re-entry to the abandoned house. This was part of a programme of enforcement to encourage the freeholder to take their responsibilities seriously.

All of which is not really relevant to you question!

Much depends on what the Council is like. Some Councils would bat the issue away as a purely Civil matter. But as the freeholder of one or more of the flats, maybe another Council might get involved to broker an outcome that satisfies interested parties.  

 Foxes are a just symptom (just like in Fleabag series 2), it the emptiness that is the issue. Is the Council addressing the emptiness arising from the death of the leaseholder? Who within that Council has any oversight or responsibility for leaseholds? Was the lessee a sole lessee?

Once back in use (or works start), the foxes would be scared off.

That is probably my most useless post ever.

Nick P-G
Reading BC
01189373091