Grimsby family tormented by foxes
A MOTHER who feels her home is being "terrorised' by a family of foxes has been left outraged after authorities told her there is nothing they can do to stop them.
Although wildlife experts say it is unlikely that foxes would pose a threat to people, Margaret Lyth, 36, of Davenport Drive, Grimsby, says she feels forced to lock up her windows day and night to keep her family safe.
She has even stopped her son, Spencer, 7, from playing in their garden for fear of an attack – especially after last summer's fox attacks in London in which twin babies Isabella and Lola Koupparis were mauled by a fox that had crept through the window of their bedroom.
Her troubles started after the birth of three cubs to two adult foxes that had lived at the bottom of her garden for a few months.
Previously, there had not been any problems, but over the summer the fox family has become braver and now come within centimetres of the front door and windows.
They have also been seen "swinging" from the garden fence, have attempted to attack the family's pet rabbits, ripped Spencer's trampoline, dug up large patches of the lawn and have left behind faeces.
Margaret says she is living in constant fear, and worries for Spencer's safety: "There is a whole family of them and they come into the garden every night.
"They come right up to the back door. It is quite scary, they seem to be tormenting us and they don't seem to be afraid at all.
"It is terrifying sometimes, I can't trust them, they will stop at nothing to feed and feed."
Margaret contacted North East Lincolnshire Council for help, but was told it was unable to do anything because it does not have a pest control section.
She then turned to the RSPCA, who also told her it was not their responsibility because they only deal with animals that are being mistreated or in danger, including foxes.
Margaret's only option left is to pay for pest control herself – at a cost she says she cannot afford.
She continued: "We are at the end of our tether. Surely this is a problem when I can't allow my little boy to play in his garden? No one seems to want to help us and I feel quite angry about that."
Both NELC and the RSPCA confirmed they were unable to remove foxes as they are not classed as pests.
Portfolio holder for environment, Councillor Alex Wallace, said: "Foxes are not pests and therefore local authorities are not legally entitled to enforce against them.
"We can only advise residents on how foxes can be deterred from domestic gardens and ask residents not to approach foxes."
The good news for Margaret is the fox family could soon go their separate ways as the winter months draw in.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said that although, if given the chance, foxes will kill small domestic pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs, the animals are usually not a threat to people.
However, if you are troubled by foxes in your area, there are things you can do to deter them from coming into your garden, such as only providing food for wild birds on fox-proof bird tables or feeders, clearing away fallen fruit and securing dustbins and composters.
Trevor Williams, director of the Fox Project, a charity specialising in fox behaviour, said: "If she has five foxes it must be a family of juveniles and they should be at the age of dispersing as foxes are not pack animals. The behaviour of these foxes is normal, especially for this time of the year, and they are not a threat.
"The best and safest thing for the lady to do is to buy a chemical repellent and put in the areas the foxes are going in."
For more help from the Fox Project, call the hotline on 01892 826222. To report an injured or sick fox to the RSPCA, call the 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.