ONEONTA – Patricia Crow, 14 Myrtle Ave, told Oneonta Common Council that she spotted a fox near her home in Center City on Thursday, Sept. 14.
“I clearly sighted a fox traveling across my neighbor’s back yard.” she said. “Never in my nearly 70 years have I seen a fox in Center City.”
Though she warned that foxes were “not safe for the citizens of Oneonta,” The Humane Society says that foxes are not considered dangerous and are generally scared of humans, especially if they make a loud noise. Dogs and adult cats are generally safe from foxes, but kittens, rabbits and other small animals could be considered prey and should be kept inside.
However, Police Chief Doug Brenner says there has been an “uptick” in sick animals, namely skunks, including four in one week. “These animals were not well,” he said. “They were rolling in the street.”
Although the animals were destroyed, they were not tested for rabies, as state law does not require testing unless the animal has caused harm to a human or domestic animal.
But Council members Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward and Dana Levinson, Fifth Ward, both questioned what citizens should do if they see an animal in distress.
“My neighbor had a deer die on their lawn, and the Department of Public Works said they would charge them to remove it,” she said. “They left the carcass there to rot, it stunk up the neighborhood and it attracted animals.”
Brenner advised that people call the DEC, rather than DPW, as wild animals are considered property of the state. “Don’t approach it and don’t put out poison,” he said. The police can also be called to destroy the animal, but only if it appears to be suffering or sick.