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  • The capture of urban foxes and their release into rural areas could be an offence under The Animal Welfare Act 2006.

    It would be necessary to demonstrate to a Magistrate or Judge that the animal in question has endured "Unnecessary Suffering" as a result.

    Unfortunately, no cases have yet been tested in Court.

    The relocation/translocation of urban foxes from one area to another is considered by professionals as extremely poor practice.

    Dumping foxes causes unnecessary stress for the animal in transit and upon release.

    A dumped fox would then have to compete for food and shelter with other foxes in the dump zone - often getting injured or killed in the process.

    Most dumped foxes will only survive 24Hrs in an alien environment.

    Furthermore, it is never appropriate to relocate foxes from one area to another in terms of animal welfare and disease management.

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    There are a number of methods of Fox Control that may be legally used in the UK.

    Its important to note that foxes are NOT a protected species in the UK unlike the badger for instance; however, they are offered limited protection under The Animal Welfare Act 2006 against acts of cruelty and suffering under the control of man.

    Legal fox control methods in the UK include:

    * Shooting (using an appropriate calibre firearm - NOT air rifle)

    * Cage trapping and dispatching on-site

    * Legal use of snares (free running not self locking)

    * Galvanised mesh proofing and exclusion

    It is illegal to use self-locking snares, any bows or crossbows, any explosives other than ammunition for a firearm certified for the user or a 'live' decoy in the UK.

    It is illegal to poison foxes in the UK.

    No fumigant compounds are currently appoved for the gasing of foxes in the UK.

    The Hunting Act 2004 (which we fully support) makes the hunting with dogs of wild mammals, including foxes illegal.

    The includes deliberately using dogs to chase foxes away from gardens, allottments etc. It does not include cases where the dog chases the fox when the owner does not intend it to do so.

    The Hunting Act 2004 contains a few tightly drawn exemptions intended to allow certain necessary pest control activities to continue, but these are unlikely to apply in urban areas.

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    Dealing with a fox problem or issue is the responsibility of the property owner or occupier of the property with the owners permission.

    Local authorities rarely intervene with fox issues on private land, leaving it up to the property owner to seek professional and experienced advice and help.

    A realistic expectation of what can be achieved is essential when considering options to deal with a fox issue.

    Unfortunately, there is no simple solution or remedy to the problems foxes can cause.

    The most effective deterrent is a suitable perimeter fence.

    A fox can climb over a 6ft fence with ease or could run up the side of a wall.

    Foxes are have an incredible digging ability and can dig under fences or structures.

    We do not recommend the use of repellents. Repellents pose no physical threat making them futile.

    Some repellents can even make matters counterproductive so be careful what you use.

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    Foxes can carry a range of parasites and diseases relevant to the health of domestic pets, livestock and people.

    Despite this, there is scant evidence that foxes are actually an important source of infection. Instead, domestic pets and particularly dogs, which are more susceptible to a range of diseases as foxes are probably a much more important source of infection for humans.

    Foxes are susceptible to sarcoptic mange.

    This is a skin condition caused by a mite resulting in extensive hair loss and crusty skin.

    Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious amonst foxes and can be passed onto domestic pets such as dogs and cats especially those pets that an infected fox comes into contact with or if they frequent the same area as foxes.

    Foxes carry a number of internal parasites.

    For people, the most important risk to health from foxes are probably round worm  Toxocara canis and tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) which can cause hydatid disease (the formation of fluid-filled cycsts in organs such as the liver).

    These parasites also occur in dogs and are transferred between hosts through the ingestion of worm eggs passed in the faeces of an infected animal.

    Foxes are also susceptible to Weil's disease (leptospirosis) exactly the same disease that is tramsmitted by rats.

    Weil's disease is passed onto other animals or humans through contact with an infected animal's urine.

    On a positive note, Britain is currently "Rabies Free"; however, Rabies is still a prevelant in parts of Europe and Asia.


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