Sick fox unlikely to harm people, pets

  • Amherst police station

  • A sick fox in Amherst that has a mite-caused case of mange. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

AMHERST — A fox suffering from an illness that has caused it to lose much of its fur, and which may pose dangers to other wildlife, is continuing to roam neighborhoods in North Amherst.

But Carol Hepburn, the town’s animal welfare officer, said the fox, afflicted with mange caused by a parasitic mite, is unlikely to cause harm to people or domesticated pets.

“It is contagious, no doubt about that, but mostly contagious to other wildlife,” Hepburn said.

Hepburn said the fox has been seen primarily along East Pleasant and Pine streets, and neighborhoods off those streets, including Cherry Lane, Weaver Circle and Owen Drive.

Some weeks she has taken more than a call a day from residents who have observed the sick animal.

“It’s been pretty hectic over the last month and half,” Hepburn said.

So far, though, she has not been able to catch the fox, observing that foxes are among the hardest animals to trap.

Anyone who encounters the fox should call Hepburn at 478-7084 and, if unable to reach her, then call police.

Hepburn said she would like to trap and humanely take care of the fox, even if it means euthanizing it. Since the fox has been living with the illness for several weeks, Hepburn said she isn’t sure how much longer it will survive.