Chiswick Mother Tells Of 'Frightening' Fox Attack

As pressure is put on Councils to deal with 'pests'

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Pauline Koupparis, the mother of the baby twins mauled by a fox has called for local councils to take action to prevent a similar attack. She was supported by London mayor Boris Johnson, who called for a greater focus to control the “pests”.

Experts are calling the attack on the baby girls a "freak incident" however Chiswick mother of three Lucy Jago Briggs says she doesn't agree.

She told The Telegraph how her nine year old daughter Lily woke up to find a fox standing on top of her biting her shoulder.

"That night we had locked the doors but left the window open. I was worried about burglars not foxes. I heard this scream and I ran into my daughter's bedroom and the fox was actually standing on my daughter's chest. He hadn't even run away when she screamed. It was the size of a small dog.

"I had to run up to the bed and then he eventually ran off. But he didn't leave the house he ran into our bedroom. He was looking around and we had to shoo him out of the house to get him out. It was very brazen. That was what frightened me. It seemed absolutely unfazed by us."

Southfield Councillor Gary Malcolm has spoken to about the local fox problem on previous occasion. he said, "Foxes are more common in recent times and in a number of streets in Chiswick there are problems it appears due to abandoned or unoccupied houses which have all been taken over by fox dens."

He added, "I am asking the Council's administration what they will do to ensure that streets where foxes are known to be present are dealt with before anyone such as children are bitten."

Boris Johnson said, “People like to think foxes are a wonderful addition to the flora and fauna of London but they are undoubtedly a pest. They are a menace in their scavenging for rubbish and, as you saw in the last couple of days, they can, in very rare circumstances, present a threat to human beings as well.”

He said he would be putting pressure on Councils to deal with the fox problem.

There is, however, some support for these wild animals. Some people love foxes, even going as far as leaving out food for them. Others are shaken by close encounters with them.

One expert described foxes as “amenable creatures”. However, an Acton resident whose pet cat died after being attacked by a fox would not agree and campaigned to get neighbours to join her in tackling the growing problem.

A spokesman for Ealing Council said, “Urban foxes are a problem across London and like other councils we have investigated ways to address this issue. In 2008 we conducted a specialist scrutiny panel on pest control and found that there was little that could be done to decrease their numbers, as foxes are territorial and will breed to maintain their population. As a result any mass programme of controlling foxes is ineffective. 

“In extreme circumstances residents can contact a private pest control company. The council can provide specific advice and details of specialist contractors in fox removal. Information about foxes is also available on the council’s website.”

Residents who are concerned about foxes can take measures to deter them by limiting the availability to a habitat and food. This includes:

  • Restricting access to rubbish by ensuring residents do not put their rubbish out prior to their collection day
  • Using food waste bins which are vermin proof
  • Removing all likely food sources from gardens
  • Protecting pets in secure hutches and enclosures and using chicken wire underneath enclosures
  • Spreading repellent at points of access to gardens
  • Repairing and strengthening fences
  • Blocking access to cellars and sheds
  • Keeping toys and shoes indoors

June 11, 2010