07/17/2014 08:46 EDT | Updated 09/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Vaudreuil foxes may not be relocated following complaints

The mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion said he has no concrete plans to remove foxes from a particular part of town close to the woods and river after a handful of residents complained.

This, after the city issued a statement on July 14 saying a trapper would be hired to capture and move some foxes during trapping season — that is, between Oct. 25 and March 1.

On CBC Daybreak Thursday morning, mayor Guy Pilon said the last thing he wanted to do is kill the foxes. “If it’s possible to transfer them, we will do so,” he said.

However, over the course of the interview, he said foxes would only be removed from the area if they posed some kind of health risk or danger to the population.

Harriet Schleifer, the founder and executive director of Urban Animal Advocates, said the only health issues that affect foxes are rabies — which she said had not been identified as a common issue in Vaudreuil-Dorion — and sarcoptic mange, which is not transferable to humans.

Concerns over pets, children

Pilon said his office has received about 10 calls — some from the same person — from residents living near the Quinchien River regarding concerns about foxes harming pets or small children.

“Foxes are normal. We have a lot of nature here,” Pilon told CBC Daybreak on Thursday.

Schleifer of Urban Animal Advocates said it’s really unlikely that foxes would harm pets, let alone children. She said foxes are nervous and secretive, and wouldn’t usually dare approach people.

“Another concern that’s been expressed to us is that the foxes might kill people’s cats. Foxes are too smart to do that. Cats are kind of like superballs full of razor blades, and they would really try to hunt something easier, like a mouse,” Schleifer said.

She added that not leaving cat and dog food outside, and keeping garbage in containers were effective ways at limiting animal attraction.

“Garbage is kind of a big smorgasbord buffet that we put out for them in green bags that even a sparrow could open,” Schleifer said.

Relocating animals decreases survival rates

Mayor Pilon said he’s been in touch with Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife to get some advice on what to do.

Meanwhile, a petition was started by a resident asking to keep the foxes in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Schleifer said the city should do as much as possible to keep the foxes where they are.

First of all, she said, 80 per cent of adult animals die when relocated because of unfamiliarity with the territory and possible presence of predators.

She also added that moving animals out of an area is like “putting up a big sign that says, ‘For rent,’” inviting other animals to move in.

“When you relocate animals it stimulates their breeding,” she said.