Editor's note: The photo that was initially attached to this article was a photo of a fox given to Patch by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. It was not a photo of the fox that was euthanized by Animal Control, and it should not have been attached to this story.
For the past three weeks the Ledyard Animal Control Office has been receiving daily reports of fox sightings from the south end of Gales Ferry. "We received at least 80 calls," Animal Control Officer Kimlyn Marshall said Monday.
The sightings should stop after a fox was euthanized Monday.
At one point, because of the range of the sightings, Marshall's office suspected there could be more than one fox. Calls came in from both sides of Route 12, from Harvard Terrace to Kings Highway and stretching to the Presidential Estates.
But Marshall said Monday she was all but certain the sightings were of the same fox -- an animal she has seen herself on more than a dozen occasions. She said the fox was healthy and appeared well-fed.
"Normally, foxes present no danger to people whatsoever," she said. But foxes can be a problem when they lose their fear of people. "For whatever reason, this fox had grown close to people. It probably was being fed inadvertently" by people who feed their pets outside, she said.
Marshall said she was able to approach to within six feet of the fox. But the fox would bolt when she reached for a net or other device to try to capture the animal.
She said foxes who have lost their fear of people cannot be allowed to remain in a well-populated residential area because they could be startled and nip a child or adult.
But capturing foxes is difficult, she said, because they are generally too smart to be trapped. Using a tranquilizer gun also is problematic because they could flee before the dart takes effect, only to recover in an area where there are people.
Marshall said the animal was put down by a professional nuisance wildlife control professional. "It's been a long three weeks," she said.