The second episode of Foxes Live: Wild in our Cities hits our screens tonight and as you may have gathered, the issues that Channel 4 are dealing with have divided the nation straight down the middle. Some think that the animals need to be protected as they roam our streets and others would happily set a pack of dogs on them.
But few members of the public have a better understanding of the topic than Natasha Davids, who appeared on the show last week. Two years ago she was attacked by a fox while sleeping in her house and as you can imagine, she’s now a relative expert on the subject..
Hi Natasha. So you were bitten twice by a fox a couple of years ago and the second incident left you with some serious wounds on your foot. Did the attack affect your opinion on foxes?
It did. I’m from the country where fox-hunting was pretty much the norm and I don’t have an issue with it, I’m an animal lover as well (that may sound a bit weird!) but since being bitten by the fox I feel quite strongly about the issue. Something definitely needs to be done. The reason I called The Sun about the news story in the first place was because it came two weeks after the twins were attacked and their parents got death-threats from animal rights activists. They had to have security at the house and parts of the media slated them, so that’s why I decided to explain that if a grown woman can be attacked, then two babies can definitely be attacked..
Exactly. Does it annoy you that some animal rights activists play these incidents down by insisting that they are rare?
Well yes, because the fact is, they do attack people. The same fox that bit me tried to bite my boyfriend while we were sitting at the back of our house one afternoon and he’s 6 ft 2, so that fox really didn’t have any fear. I live in Imperial Wharf and I don’t think the property developers were pleased with me because ITV came round and filmed a piece for the news. I think they killed the foxes which is why I haven’t seen this one since! It’s quite a posh development and they didn’t want any negative press that might put off potential buyers. I know they put fox repellent down as soon as my story was in the papers anyway..
Did you speak to the RSPCA about it?
Hammersmith & Fulham Council and many other London Councils don’t class foxes as vermin or pests and say they can’t do anything about it, so I called the RSPCA before I was bitten because I was concerned about the fox coming in the house. I told them there were about four foxes living nearby and they asked me if they were ill or injured. I told them they weren’t and they said there was nothing they could do and that I should just shoo them away and keep my windows shut..
Do you think the authorities have been slow to react to this problem? No one seems to want to take responsibility.
It costs a lot of money to go around getting rid of foxes and I don’t think it’s an expense that the council want to take on at the minute. They are reluctant to do anything about it. I can understand the RSPCA’s approach because they have to work within restrictions and can only really step in to help injured animals, but the council? It’s certainly a budget issue..
Do you think they need to find a budget for it?
They have to. If I’m getting bitten and babies are getting bitten, they have to do something about it. Foxes are riddled with diseases and their teeth are razor sharp, so they can actually do quite a lot of damage..
Have you been in contact with the council?
I didn’t get in contact with them directly because in Fulham there’s already a group which has been pressuring them to step in. I happen to be friends with one of them and they told me that they’ve already tried to get in touch with the council and there’s absolutely no point. They’re a pressure group as it were, so if they’re not having any success I didn’t think I would!
What do you think about the animal activists who can get quite aggressive about these issues?
I just think they’re burying their heads in the sand. I appreciate that they’re protecting animal welfare and looking out for them – and I don’t agree with unecessarily killing animals – but I think it’s silly because they can take things too far and injure humans, doing exactly the same thing that they’re protecting animals from. It’s a bit stupid.