Charlottetown residents: Don't feed the foxes

City of Charlottetown gets complaints every week about urban foxes; may ask for provincewide ban against feeding critters

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 12, 2014

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.

©Guardian file photo by Brian McInnis

It is currently illegal to feed foxes, any wildlife for that matter, in the National Park where Parks Canada can issue a minimum fine of $220.

The City of Charlottetown is thinking of asking the provincial government to pass an Islandwide ban on feeding wild foxes.

Coun. David MacDonald, chairman of protective and emergency services, said Monday night the city is getting complaints every week and has been for some time and it may be time to try and do something about it.

MacDonald said it is no longer unusual to see wild foxes around Charlottetown but the complaints seem to be centred on the dozens that are hanging around properties towards supper time because people are feeding them.

"Coincidentally, that's when people put out pet and those kinds of things. So, they're just a little concerned, first of all, for their safety of the pets and residents,'' MacDonald said.

The councillor said the city plans on approaching the provincial government to see if there is an appetite to enact legislation calling for a provincewide ban. Such a ban would include a fine.

It is currently illegal to feed foxes, any wildlife for that matter, in the National Park where Parks Canada can issue a minimum fine of $220.

Parks Canada says feeding foxes will cause them to become habituated to humans and rely solely on humans for food. In some cases, young kits that are fed by humans may not develop the skills they need to hunt and succeed. Foxes fed along roadsides will often become injured or killed by vehicles because they are used to vehicles and frequent roads and parking areas.

"It's going to be hard to deal with it but we've had enough complaints over the years that we should talk to the province to see if we can do something.

"We're going to talk to the province to see whether or not, between us, we can look to implement something that, maybe, has the same kind of impact they do in the national parks.''

MacDonald said it's the right thing to do, to protect the foxes, residents and house pets.

Fish and wildlife matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice.