Fox Euthanized in Gales Ferry

Animal Control Office Received 80 Calls Over Three Weeks

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.

cynthia October 04, 2011 at 01:13 PM
I too concur with all the earlier comments. I live near Alice Acres where I believe he was "based" and caused no harm whatsoever. Quite sad...
Frances Mileski October 04, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Are you kidding me??? I can not believe I'm reading this. I am upset, disgusted and apalled. Yes, unbelievably sad. Euthanized....that means "shot" doesn't it? For all those that complained you should be ashamed of yourselves. Each and every year we have a silver fox that has a litter of pups somewhere near our property. The babies play in our yard when no one is out, the mother sometimes suns herself by the edge of the property. We don't bother her, she does not bother us. Can't we all get along with mother nature?
April Brunelle October 04, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Spoke to woman at Gales Ferry Animal Control and she assured me the article did not relate all the information. She told me on the phone the fox seemed to have mange and was not right yet the article states it seemed healthy and well fed. She stated the fox did bother people (one example she explained a man called stating it wouldn't let him in his truck) yet this article does not once relate any strange behavior or situational problems the fox caused other than it just being seen. So...not sure what to believe.
concerned citizen October 04, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Like they always say,there is always two sides of a story, the correct of which has clearly not been conveyed in this article,which has been severely misconstrued from the truth
vain October 04, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I saw this fox as well, running through the trailer park at rt12/long cove. The photo at the top of this article is in no way related to, and looked nothing like the fox that was shot. The fox I saw was definitely mangy, and at first sight I thought it was a small coyote, I only looking closely at it, did I realize it was a mangy looking red fox. It definitely *DID NOT* look healthy at all. I generally don't agree with wanton killing of wildlife, in my opinion this unfortunate fox was better off euthanized (shot).
Kimlyn Marshall October 04, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Marshall said the animal was put down by a professional nuisance wildlife control professional. The residents in the area the fox was roaming were very upset with the appearance of the fox, its behaviour, and were extrememly concerned for the safety of their children, themselves and their pets. It was reccomended to callers to contact a Nuisance wildlife Control Operator who is trained and licensed to deal with wildlife that has become troublesome. Ledyard Animal Control Offcers do not carry any weapons. Live -trapping and relocation of certain rabies prone species(raccoon,skunk,fox) is prohibited under Connecticut General Statues 26-57.
Bill Thorndike October 04, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Hi April: Thanks for adding information to the story. When I was reporting on this yesterday I was told that at one point there appeared to be two foxes -- one healthy and well-fed and the other somewhat mangy. It was later determined (with almost complete certainty) there was only one fox, which I agree sounds a bit confusing. I did not hear about strange behaviors, although it's pretty strange that a fox would allow someone to walk right up to it. For what it's worth, I don't think anyone cares more about animals in this town than Kimlyn Marshall and her colleagues in the Animal Control Office.
C Schmidt October 04, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Relocation may be restricted by "Professional" nuisance wildlife officials but for everyone else thats nonsense. Those people make a living killing animals, sick or not sick. I once had a raccoon in my attic and the wildlife nuisance "'professional" came and told me he'd get it and kill it, and its babies, cause he couldn't move it anywhere. I,on thew other hand, could trap it anywhere I wanted without any problem with the state or anyone else. I by passed the "professional" saving money and the animal and drove the animals out by putting a radio against the wall and turning on Imus full blast. The animal was not harmed. I'd never suggest anyone call in a wildlife nuisance control their sole mission is killing.
concerned citizen October 04, 2011 at 06:48 PM
So, instead of calling a professional wildlife handler to deal with this issue,which,with almost certainty,did pose a health and safety risk to both humans and their pets, you would have rather had an untrained member of the public try and deal with it themselves?
Susan Hamilton October 04, 2011 at 06:49 PM
If the fox in the picture is the one that was killed, I think you made a terrible mistake. We have seen this fox for months and I saw him the morning that picture was taken. He was fine and looked like he always did. He did not have mange. But someone posted this picture on Facebook along with a side view and stated that he was abnormal because he was roaming around during the day. (It is normal for foxes to roam during the day) The facebook post deteriorated into false and misleading information: one woman saying "it was rabid and the animal officer should unload their gun into it". I was appalled by the misinformation and stupidity of the thread. Kimlyn Marshal was on the post and said any innocent animal would not be shot. If you are going to "euthanized" (to use your euphemism) an animal, it should be for a good reason. So far, I'm not sure you had one.
gail mcintyre October 04, 2011 at 08:31 PM
Seems to me that Ms Marshal was doing her job. No matter how the situation was handled some people were going to complain.
Sheri Throop October 04, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Please read the article before commenting... Local citizens contacted a nuisance wildlife control professional who euthanized the fox. Animal control was not involved in that action.
Sheri Throop October 04, 2011 at 09:50 PM
We have one of the finest Animal Control departments in Connecticut. They work with people and animals (of all kinds) trying to do the right thing for all. According to what I have read above this fox was seen and reported to Animal Control multiple times (80). Each time they responded and tried to capture the animal / educate the public about the nature of the fox. A nuisance wildlife control professional was contacted by a citizen who saw the fox. If this was the same fox apparently it's condition had deteriorated and it was no longer healthy looking and had lost it's fear of people. The fox had kept a resident from entering his truck and elicited concern from other residents. It was the nuisance wildlife control professional who made a decision based on sightings (not Animal Control) and euthanized the fox. Let's be careful who we throw under the bus folks... what if this fox was between you and your vehicle .... or worse you and your child.....then how would you feel about this decision. It is unfortunate that we have pushed into the habitat of the local wildlife to this degree... what are we doing about that ?
Nora October 05, 2011 at 12:27 AM
With all due respect: People! Really??? Thank you Sheri. Folks - did you see the pictures of this poor suffering creature? I love animals and our wildlife, but this poor thing must have been in such pain. I'd want to be put out of my misery too if I had maggot infested wounds and mange. Give Kim a break - she is one of our area animals' greatest advocates.
Susan Hamilton October 05, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Are you saying the fox in the first picture is the fox that was killed? I do agree the fox that was killed looks very sick and should have been put down. But I don't think it is the same fox.
Susan Hamilton October 05, 2011 at 02:05 AM
They posted pictures of 2 healthy foxes and said they killed one. Then tonight they posted the sick fox's pictures. A little better editing would have saved a lot of anguish. We all thought the healthy one that they showed in the picture was the one they killed.
mike campbell October 05, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Bill Thorndike October 05, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Hi Susan: New information about this event has been coming in throughout the day, some of it from residents responding to the story. What was not clear to us when we published our story this morning was that this fox was sick and suffering. Had I known that, I would not have used a contributed photo of a healthy fox to illustrate the story. Obviously this fox was not well, as you can see from the photos posted by wildlife recovery specialist Maze Stephan. More than complaints by neighbors, the decision to kill it was made in an effort to put it out of its misery.
John Felty October 05, 2011 at 02:58 PM
The picture of the fox that was shot is not the fox I saw the other day in my neighborhood last week. Unless it dramatically declined heath wise, Animal control pulled into my driveway while I was in my garage, I came out to see what they wanted and there was the fox right in front of me and the officer called to me to go back inside. The fox then wandered off up the road he did not seem fazed by human confrontation, but he did not look mangy like the one that was shot.
Maze Stephan October 05, 2011 at 04:58 PM
I'm pretty sure there was only one fox. I saw it twice, up close, before it was mercied. It was absolutely miserable with mange and maggots. Please, if you see another fox at your house, take a picture. We want to be sure that the mange doesn't spread to more wildlife or pets. This male fox was eating from compost piles and from cat food left outside for someone's pet. Please help the wildlife by REMOVING those easy food sources. My number: 860-961-1820 Wildlife Rescuers of Connecticut
facts please October 06, 2011 at 01:29 PM
The problem was the initial article was lacking in accurate facts. After the dust has settled the animal officers and wildlife professionals did a good job. The newspaper failed them mightly. If you are writing an article about a fox being euthanized your first question should be "why?" The writer of this article didn't do that. He caused a lot of confusion and spread misinformation. Using the pictures of healthy foxes just complicated the problem. If they would have posted the correct pictures we could have avoided this whole controversy. I had to laugh at the ladies who wrote in after the correct pictures were posted to chide us for not reading the article. The article was the problem. They didn't realize that the original article said a healthy well fed fox had been euthanized because there were 80 sightings. Well none of that was true. We deserve better reporting.
Bill Thorndike October 06, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Hi facts please: We were told the Animal Control Office received 80 calls about a fox in Gales Ferry, and that the fox had been euthanized on Monday. We felt it was worth letting people know. Of course we asked why it was necessary to kill the fox. Our very credible source explained that it had lost its fear of people, and there was concern that it could be startled into biting someone. She discussed the problems with trapping or tranquilizing the animal. All of that was in the initial article. My mistake was choosing a generic photo of a healthy fox to run with the story. We were told the fox was well-fed and did not appear to be sick. We were not told it was infested with parasites and suffering from an advanced case of sarcoptic mange. All of that information, along with all of the photos posted after our initial photo, were provided by readers. But that is the point. Patch is not a newspaper. It is an interactive information source in which everyone may participate, as you have done. Within hours of our story, additional information that was not initially available was added through comments, emails, phone calls and photos posted by readers. This was a very good example of how this medium is supposed to work.
Maze Stephan October 07, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Bill Thorndike has done his best with a fast moving story that had lots of public interest. I appreciate his dedication and hard work. Bill is giving Ledyard local news given by local people and it is interactive! Thank you Bill and all the contributors to Patch! I love it.
facts please October 07, 2011 at 02:32 AM
You and your credible source never talked to the wildlife professional who killed the fox. How could that be?
Maze Stephan October 07, 2011 at 03:29 AM
I saw the fox twice & got within 12 feet of it. I was the wildlife professional that informed the Ledyard Police & Animal Control Officers to put this animal out of it's misery. Our Wildlife Rescue group received ten calls about it. I went to the neighborhood six times & viewed the fox twice. The fox was absolutely sick and was sleeping under vehicles, in shrubs against houses, eating scrap food from compost piles, walking up to people & appearing confused, chewing its' skin in agony, had writhing maggots in open sores, smelled awful, probably would have died in a few more days on it's own... I asked the Officers to keep my name & group out of the story because we are RESCUERS of wildlife. It is sometimes necessary to kill an animal to give it mercy. I don't want the general public to think we would run out and euthanize healthy animals just because someone thought an animal was a nuisance. After I saw how badly this story was bounced around, I sent an email to Bill Thorndike and we talked to clear it up. The fox was shot by Farmer Pete. He saw it near his sheep and it looked "awful" to him. I was nearby hunting for it, heard the shot & collected the animal to prevent further mange exposure, I double-bagged it to protect animals and people. Given a chance, I would have shot that poor, miserable animal myself. So... Bill Thorndike DID talk to the wildlife professional, police, animal control officers, town hall, etc. It was a fast moving story in a small town.
facts please October 07, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Thank you for the facts. Certainly clears up any confusion we readers of the original story had. We appreciate what you do and realize the importance of it. How does one contribute to your Wildlife Rescue?
Sharon Stegall October 07, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Although the original story was incomplete and caused many of us to get very upset at the apparent needless killing of wildlife, I do see some good resulting out of all this. The citizens of Ledyard/Gales Ferry truly care about animals and their community. Nobody discounted the fox's death as trivial because it was "just a fox". Thanks to Bill Thorndike for bringing us together over the livelihood of a wild animal and Kimlyn Marshall, Maze Stephen and Farmer Pete for taking action.
Maze Stephan October 07, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Wildlife Rescuers of CT is a non-profit group with a Board of Officers. We volunteer throughout the area but especially support the Denison Nature Center in Mystic. My name is Rev. Maze Stephan. I am the Director and Senior Rehab Expert for the group. I handle all the phone calls and act as a dispatcher to our volunteers. Most wildlife issues can be resolved by offering my free advice and explaining the "natural history or inclinations" of the animal. I personally like doing the "critical care of injured & orphaned" wildlife. Once an animal is stabilized, it is passed on to licensed rehabbers in our group or at the Nature Center. We need help in many areas. Donations of animal crates, towels, fleece, paper towels, medical supplies, caging, money, feed, etc is greatly appreciated. Donations: Wildlife Rescuers of CT - 763 Lantern Hill Rd, Ledyard, CT 06339 Volunteer: (860) 961-1820 or WildlifeCT@gmail.com THANK YOU! We truly appreciate every bit of help in saving wildlife!
Kimlyn Marshall October 08, 2011 at 02:15 AM
The officers of Ledyard Animal Control and the residents of Ledyard really appreciate the advice and support from Wildlife Rescuers of CT. Thank-you!
Pam Ensley October 09, 2011 at 11:56 AM
I find this all very interesting. It's amazing that info (many times inaccurate info) spreads like wildfire in a small town. LOL! But, in the end, we all come together. LOVE Gales Ferry/Ledyard!


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