Fox-a-gonis a humane deterrence service for individuals, companies and organisations,
particularly in London and the south east, who are being troubled by urban foxes
but wish to resolve the problem without harming the culprits. There is always an
alternative to causing suffering or death.
Foxes are protected under a series of wildlife protection laws against poisoning,
gassing, asphyxiating, maiming, stabbing, impaling, drowning, clubbing and most forms
of snaring, with anyone carrying out such acts subject to 6 months imprisonment and/or
£5,000 fine per animal.
The fox is sometimes referred to as vermin, but it is not,
and never has beencategorised as such by the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The majority of complaints involving urban foxes include digging
holes in garden lawns and flower beds, fouling in gardens, biting through garden
light cables and irrigation pipes, fouling in school playgrounds and digging holes
in sports fields. .
It is virtually certain that, by drawing on knowledge of the
species and its behaviour and by using non-harmful methods of deterrence, the nuisance
being suffered can be prevented or, at the very least, significantly reduced without
killing foxes. This professional service is less expensive than that offered by conventional
"pest control" companies and, above all we cause no physical harm to the animalsinvolved.
Whilst advocating both town and country foxes our Society realises that foxes can
and do cause problems. Problems can range from householders having their flower beds
dug up, foxes fouling on their lawns and setting up home under garden sheds. More
serious problems can include foxes taking livestock and pets i.e. rabbits and guinea
pigs. Hopefully the following will help resolve many of the problems mentioned and
also allay any concerns regarding health issues.
Firstly, foxes are not considered by law as Vermin. This categorisation gives one
the impression that foxes carry diseases that can easily pass on to man. Since 1990
- 1996 there have been 85 cases of Weil's disease in humans. Whilst it is possible
for foxes to carry the infection their role in human disease is likely to be very
small if at all. Transmission is usually through contact with the urine of infected
animals (usually rats) or water contaminated with urine.
Dr. Robert Smith at CDSC could not recall any cases with which foxes were known or
thought to be associated.
Transmission to humans is through ingestion of viable eggs from contaminated faeces.
Eggs require 10 - 14 days maturation in soil before they become infective and are
killed by desiccation. Human cases can range from a symptomatic infection to eye
infection. Humans are not carriers and infection is treatable once identified. Simple
hygiene precautions such as worming both cats and dogs regularly and the disposal
of their faeces by burning or throwing in the garbage.
Professor Stephen Harris at Bristol University states in his book 'Urban Foxes' that;
Fox cubs by three to four months of age have developed a degree of immunity to roundworm.
It is often thought that the Sarcoptic mite (Sarcoptes scabeii)that causes mange
in foxes, dogs, squirrels, hedgehogs is the same mite that causes Scabies in people;
this is not so. Whilst Canine Mange, often wrongly called fox mange can bring out
an allergic reaction in people, the mite needs specific hosts to feed and breed on.
If dogs come into contact with mange they can usually be easily treated at the vets.
One of the most common complaints we receive is from people wanting advice on how
to discourage foxes from fouling on their lawns and digging up the flower beds.
One way to discourage foxes from digging would be to avoid using bone meal around
the garden. When foxes find an abundance of food, rather than waste it they bury
it. When they come across the smell of bone meal around plants they assume wrongly
that food has been cached so dig down.
Also avoid putting food out for birds or hedgehogs as any food source will be taken
readily by the foxes.
If you suspect that foxes are living under your shed and you don't want them there
these are the steps to take.
Step 1) To ensure foxes are using the underneath of your shed make sure to locate
all the holes. Foxes invariably have two holes, a front door and a back door if you
Step 2) On discovering all the holes and on the basis there are two holes get two
bundles of rags. Loosely block both holes with the rags. If the rags haven't moved
for two - three days, you can safely assume that nothing is going into the hole and
nothing is coming out. It is therefore safe to fill in.