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Mangy Fox Still Around West Side, Horn Pond

Keep small pets inside; mange is contagious to animals, humans.

 

The appearance of a mangy red fox on the West Side has alarmed many residents, including . 

The fox appeared at on Aug. 27, causing many walkers and visitors to the pond to run to their cars. and said that the animal ate a bit of grass, scavenged from a paper bag someone had tossed in the parking lot, and then wandered off across Pond Street.

The fox has been seen at Horn Pond, on the street, and even on a porch! Woburn Police have reported seeing the fox in the area, but the city's animal control officer does not have a permit to trap a wild animal, such as a fox.

Concerned resident Carol Youngclaus told Woburn Patch yesterday that she telephoned several animal agencies in an attempt to help the fox, who is suffering from mange. Youngclaus phoned the MSPCA, was referred to the Tufts Wildlife Center, then to a wildlife rehabilitator, then the Animal Rescue League, then the state Division of Fishing and Wildlife, then the Environmental Police, where she had to leave a message. 

The red fox species is seen often around Massachusetts and can be active during the night or day all year round. They usually maintain "territories" from two to seven miles wide. 

According to the state of Connecticut's Environmental Protection office, red foxes suffering from mange can give the disease to humans and other animals. While mange can kill a fox within two to four months, it will likely only cause a "mild form of dermatitis" in a human. 

Because this particular fox has been seen on residential properties, as well as the Horn Pond, Woburn Patch is publishing the state's tips on making your home less attractive to foxes

  • Secure your garbage! Foxes will raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost piles in containers designed to contain but vent the material.
  • Don't feed or try to pet foxes! Keep wild things wild! Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause foxes to act tame and over time may lead to bold behavior. Foxes that rely on natural food items remain wild and wary of humans.
  • Keep your pets safe! Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, foxes can view cats as potential food. For the safety of your pets, keep them restrained at all times.
  • Keep bird feeder areas clean! Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground as the seed attracts many small mammals foxes prey upon. Remove feeders if foxes are regularly seen around your yard. Feed pets indoors! Outdoor feeding attracts many wild animals to your door!
  • Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds! Foxes use such areas for resting and raising young.
  • Don't let foxes intimidate you! Don't hesitate to scare or threaten foxes with loud noises, bright lights, or water.
  • Cut back brushy edges in your yard! These areas provide cover for foxes and their prey.
  • Educate your neighbors! Pass this information along since your efforts will be futile if neighbors are providing food or shelter for foxes.

 

There has also been a fox sighting in Central Square, in addition to the many sightings of this fox on the West Side. Have you seen foxes in the area? Are you concerned for your or your pets' safety? 

 

Jay Boyer September 07, 2012 at 11:00 AM
I've seen a fox upper West side (I know Snooty) on many occasions. Just crossing the road to get back too woods
Earnhardt September 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Also have seen this fox up off Waltham St./ Ridge St. area Woburn - Winchester Line. Perhaps animal control should take the steps necessary to get the trapping permit. After all it's part of the job, Just wondering. if mange weakens his health, could he contract rabies?
Kari Christiansen September 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Too bad no one will help the fox. Mange is very treatable. http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/mange.html Weakens the immune system so more likely to develop other health problems.
Kari Christiansen September 07, 2012 at 02:58 PM
It is often cited that treatment ideally needs to be administered in situ (i.e. given to the fox in some food), rather than the fox having to be captured and treated at a clinic. Capturing the fox is invariably stressful for the animal (and probably the rescuer!)
Carol Youngclaus September 07, 2012 at 07:36 PM
An officer from the Environmental Police called me back today. We had a very cordial discussion, but there is nothing they or anyone can do for or to the fox unless s/he is in some way threatening human life. We both acknowledged that the fox that I saw and the one that Walter Smith photographed (which may or may not be the same animal) is probably not going to survive the illness he is suffering, but there is nothing that can legally be done to intervene. The officer's words were, "We have to let nature take its course." And I know, despite my love for all animals and distress over the fox's sad destiny, that he is right. This is not a pet animal, and it is never a good idea – legal or not – for humans to interfere with events we did not cause and cannot prevent. But it still makes me very sad. And at least we have more knowledge now of what can and should be done to protect ourselves and our own pets.
Kari Christiansen September 07, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Some states have harsher laws then others unfortunately. Here is another link from Foxwood Rehab. http://foxwoodrehab.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/10/treating-sarcop.html
cee jr. September 07, 2012 at 11:41 PM
They should just put it down.... Its a sick wild animal.
Earnhardt September 08, 2012 at 12:58 AM
First mange... then what? do we wait until something happens? I say sadly.... put it down..I hate to say that. but it must be done,,,
Earnhardt September 08, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Agree with you cee jr. sadly I agree
Elaine Foley September 08, 2012 at 01:06 AM
So sad.
Maura B September 09, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Ivermectin in some food would help! But you have to make sure he'll eat it. I'll cross post.
Sandy M. September 09, 2012 at 02:52 PM
That fox was in my yard in East Woburn in late June! I live by a stream and close to the industrial area off Nashua St. It was mid-afternoon, and I thought it may have been a small coyote, but it wasn't quite large enough either. It ran through my yard into the next yard and disappeared into the brush. A cat I was feeding (he may have been abandoned because he wasn't that afraid of me after a while) may have been a victim of this fox duriing the overnight hours that same night. I saw the cat that evening and fed him (I take ALL food away afterwards) but that was the last I saw of him. This was late June and I was waiting for the shelter I work with to trap him. Unfortunately, it appears we were too late. One of the other two ferals I feed heard the fox and bolted before I even saw it come up from the stream! Luckily these two ferals are smarter and more aware of their surroundings. I still worry about them though. It's very sad that we are legally unable to help this fox. Red foxes are beautiful and I now wonder if it's the same fox I saw many months before, when it was still well. Sad.... poor baby.

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