Baby Twins' Mother Calls for Action on Foxes

Boris Johnson puts pressure on councils to deal with 'pests'

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Pauline Koupparis, the mother of the baby twins severely mauled by a fox has is demanding that local councils should take action to prevent a similar attack. She was supported by Boris Johnson, London mayor, who called for a greater focus to control the “pests”.

Mr Johnson said: “People like to think foxes are a wonderful addition to the flora and fauna of London but they are undoubtedly a pest.

“They are a menace in their scavenging for rubbish and, as you saw in the last couple of days, they can, in very rare circumstances, present a threat to human beings as well.”

He said he would be putting pressure on borough councils in the capital to deal with the fox problem.

Toby Young writing in his blog this week said he hates “these vermin” with a passion and suspects that one large fox “that sits in my garden at midnight taunting me with his blood-curdling cries” is responsible for the disappearance of Trixie, his much missed domestic cat.

Toby contines: “Auberon Waugh had the right idea. He proposed setting up a Shepherd’s Bush Hunt that would meet on Brook Green every Saturday morning. I would happily join such a troupe, but the problem is we wouldn’t be able to kill nearly enough of them. What Boris needs to do is assemble a crack team of marksmen who will comb London’s neighbourhoods after dark, shooting all foxes on sight.

“Every time I see one of these loathsome creatures strutting down the street, looking as if they possess the keys to the city, it turns my stomach. The attack on the two little girls is the final straw. We need to take back our streets.”

There is, however, some support for these wild animals. Some people love foxes, even going as far as leaving out food for them. Others are shaken by close encounters with them. One woman in Chiswick described how one came through her french windows: “I ran to grab new born but not before ex-husband could pull me in front of him to protect himself.....”

One expert described foxes as “amenable creatures”. However, an Acton resident whose pet cat was severely mauled and died after being attacked by a fox would probably not agree and campaigned to get neighbours to join her in tackling the growing problem.

We asked Ealing Council to comment and their spokesman told us: “Urban foxes are a problem across London and like other councils we have investigated ways to address this issue.

In 2008 we conducted a specialist scrutiny panel on pest control and found that there was little that could be done to decrease their numbers, as foxes are territorial and will breed to maintain their population. As a result any mass programme of controlling foxes is ineffective. 

“In extreme circumstances residents can contact a private pest control company. The council can provide specific advice and details of specialist contractors in fox removal. Information about foxes is also available on the council’s website.”

Residents who are concerned about foxes can take measures to deter them by limiting the availability to a habitat and food. This includes:

·       Restricting access to rubbish by ensuring residents do not put their rubbish out prior to their collection day
·       Using food waste bins which are vermin proof
·       Removing all likely food sources from gardens
·       Protecting pets in secure hutches and enclosures and using chicken wire underneath enclosures
·       Spreading repellent at points of access to gardens
·       Repairing and strengthening fences
·       Blocking access to cellars and sheds
·       Keeping toys and shoes indoors

June 9, 2010