Foxes in the suburbs: What can be done?

FOXES may be behind the recent killing of domestic chickens in the Bendigo suburbs, some residents believe, after several sightings close to the city’s centre.

But the City of Greater Bendigo and Department of Agriculture have not seen an increase in reported sightings.

A Bendigo resident claimed foxes killed all six of her chickens in her backyard on Condon Street in Kennington – one a gold-laced Polish hand-reared chicken.

She said only foxes would have been able to break into the cage through the roof.

“My chickens were in a big metal cage and securely locked up, but this fox broke in through the roof,” she said.

“I have also been told that at anytime of the early morning there are between seven and 15 foxes at the Lake Weerona car park wandering about.

“There is an fox epidemic in Bendigo.”

The resident said the council directed her to the Department of Agriculture, which said any sightings should be reported to them.

“It seems to be the landowners’ problem, but being zoned in a residential area we cannot do anything due to the residential laws,” she said.

City of Greater Bendigo acting manager parking and animal service Caroline Grylls said the council was unaware of an increase in fox numbers.

“There’s no evidence that their numbers have increased in the urban area recently,” she said.

“The council does not have a role to play in controlling pest animals. We do not run baiting – it is all done by state departments.

“We only have programs for domestic animals.”

There was also confusion about which agency was responsible for monitoring and controlling foxes in urban areas.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning pointed to the council, but the council point to the Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture also could not say whether fox numbers had increased, and instead listed a range of guidelines for the control of feral animals.

Baiting in urban areas is limited and can only be carried out by authorised personnel. 1080 pest products cannot be used in built-up areas.

The department encouraged people to monitor fox feeding activity in their area, taking away potential feed sources. For every one fox spotted, there is likely to be four more.

If you see a fox, contact the department on 136 186.

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