Charlottetown could start fining fox feeders

Dave Stewart
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This red fox is doing what wild foxes are supposed to do - catch their own food. In this Guardian file photo a fox pounces on a field mouse that it wasted no time in eating once it dug it out from its burrow. Charlottetown city council said it is geting complaints about some residents feeding the animals.

People who persist in feeding foxes in Charlottetown could find themselves bitten in the wallet.

The City of Charlottetown could turn to provincial legislation and fine people in an effort to curb the ongoing issue.

Coun. David MacDonald, chairman of the protective and emergency services committee, said the first order of business is to educate the public.

“We’re going to put out a pamphlet and that pamphlet is going to have all kinds of information about foxes — what they look like, even the scruffy ones, what they eat and why it’s not in anyone’s best interest to feed them,’’ MacDonald said.

During Monday’s regular monthly public meeting, MacDonald said fines would target the hardcore feeders.

Researchers at UPEI, who have been studying foxes for the past few years, say feeding urban foxes is harmful because the animals stop hunting for themselves and come to rely on that food from humans. They could starve as a result.

MacDonald has said in the past few months that there are some real trouble spots in the capital area, places where hardcore feeders are supplying food, drawing lots of foxes.

“We’re also hoping to have a couple of outdoor sessions, one at Victoria Park and one someplace else, where we’ll actually have some (biologists) out from the vet college.

“The feedback we’re getting from the research done at UPEI is that there is a percentage of people who genuinely feel that they’re doing the foxes good by feeding them.’’

MacDonald said the city hopes that by educating the public about the dangers of feeding foxes that people will stop.

If that doesn’t work, the city could turn to provincial legislation to issue fines.

“Under provincial legislation now we’re able to maybe do some enforcement that couldn’t be done before but it has to do with the protection of animals. We don’t know how the enforcement is going to work, we just know that meetings (that have taken place) have identified some particular pieces of existing legislation that might allow enforcement to take place.’’

MacDonald says the city would prefer not to fine anyone but it may come to that with people who won’t stop feeding the animals voluntarily.

“We think in the long run that 99.9 per cent of the offenders will be dealt with by the education piece.’’

MacDonald said the city hopes to have the education pamphlets out by September.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Victoria Park

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Recent comments

  • William White
    August 13, 2014 - 16:28

    And just who is going to police this scheme? I'd go to jail before I'd pay that fine.

  • The Observer from Stratford
    August 13, 2014 - 15:27

    We're in Stratford and a few years ago we saw a fox running out of a neighbour's yard with a sandwich firmly grasped in its mouth. You can bet the fox didn't make that sandwich on its own. Fortunately that neighbour has moved away. If I were to see the same thing today I would definitely report them.

  • Mrs. Frisbee
    August 13, 2014 - 14:26

    Mice never had it so good, now that fox don't eat them, but instead go for the buffets set up by humans .

  • Gimme a break
    August 13, 2014 - 14:17

    Seriously? What next... bird feeders?

    • Bill Meeker
      August 13, 2014 - 15:42

      Gimme a break, you better hope foxes don't start eating trolls or you will find yourself on their menu.

  • animal lover
    August 13, 2014 - 13:55

    Will we get fined also for feeding birds

  • animal lover
    August 13, 2014 - 13:54

    Will we get fined also for feeding birds

  • same story
    August 13, 2014 - 11:16

    Portable shelters for car, lol there has been a 40 foot boat under a portable shelter on the corner of Brow's lane and Kensigton Road for 7 years!

  • Eylmer
    August 13, 2014 - 09:40

    Must not be anything more important to do at city hall in the summer?

  • J
    August 13, 2014 - 08:53

    A little late to stop feeding the foxes now. They've relied on this for years. How are they supposed to go back into the woods when they are full of coyotes. Talk about cruelty to animals. So much for our 'gentle' Island. What harm is it if people choose to feed animals...it's their food and can do with it what they want. A few whiners around the city are at it again. After this, they'll be whining about something else. Must be great to have nothing to worry about except foxes getting some food. Get a life people...whine about something that is worthwhile.

    • Listen UP
      August 13, 2014 - 10:49

      If you were feeding them fox food you might have a point but feeding them junk is not doing them any favors. Learn something about wildlife before you open your mouth and say something as dumb as that.

    • The Observer from Stratford
      August 13, 2014 - 15:34

      @J: Feeding wild animals is not a good idea for several reasons: 1. The animal may become dependent on people and become either too lazy or forget how to hunt. 2. The animal may become bolder around people. Children in particular could be bitten or mauled. 3. The food may not be fully digestible to the animal who might become ill or even die. All around, any feeding of a wild animal is not a good idea.

    • J
      August 14, 2014 - 09:09

      Listen Up: Did I say what food was being given by anyone, fox food or otherwise...so apparently it wasn't dumb at all ! I know lots about wildlife and I do know about cruelty to animals...in this world, it seems there is too much going on !!

    • J
      August 14, 2014 - 09:17

      Listen Up: Did I say anything about what was being fed to foxes...no I don't recall saying it was fox food or junk...so apparently it wasn't dumb at all !! The Observer from Stratford: Feeding a wild animal may not be a good idea for whatever reasons but these foxes have been fed for many years, so I guess the law to not feed them should have been brought forth back then, its a little late now, foxes ARE now dependent on people feeding them and since they were run out of their homes by coyotes who would eat them for dinner, then the foxes would surely starve. But oh well, let them starve, as long as people are not feeding them. The world has enough cruelty in it and its getting worse. Welcome to our 'gentle' Island and just ignore the starving or dead foxes because it's against the law to give them a scrap !!

    • Mrs Frisbee
      August 14, 2014 - 12:18

      @J: you don't know the first thing about wildlife, as opposed to your claim that you do. If you feed them they will starve. If you don't feed them, they will hunt year round and survive better. It is foolish to feed a predator - it harms the ecosystem. We needed the coyotes to come when they did because that is when we ruined the fox population. I don't see a coincidence here either.

  • Simone
    August 13, 2014 - 07:35

    First let me preface by saying, I do not advocate the feeding of foxes.How the the city propose to enforce this.Many other bylaws are overlooked by the city and not enforced.Did you know that portable shelters to house a vehicle are not allowed in city limits and yet you see plenty of people using them. This is a bylaw that is not enforced because of the broad scope. Fox feeding would be another bylaw that would be near impossible to enforce unless you want me to turn in my 90 year old neighbor!I suppose the city will rely on whistle blowers.Instead of a bylaw why doesn't the city continue to make public appeals to the citizens.They will catch on eventually.

  • enough already
    August 13, 2014 - 07:07

    If you think legislation will stop 99.9% of people from feeding foxes you are nuts!