PETS being torn limb from limb and fears a baby could be savaged next have led residents to call for hunting on the borough’s streets.

Janet Richardson says urban foxes are running out of control and must be destroyed, whatever it takes.

Hungry vixens in The Mead, Beckenham, have been known to leap through open windows to steal kitchen scraps and, when confronted, snarl and snap angrily at anyone who dares tackle them.

Mrs Richardson’s patience with the sly intruders finally snapped when one of them quite literally ripped apart the family pet, a ginger tom called Anu.

She said: “My nine-year-old son Samuel came home to the most distressing and grisly scene. A fox had torn the head off our cat. There was blood everywhere. It was like a massacre.

“For a youngster to have to face this is appalling. Within one week three cats have been butchered by foxes, their heads torn off and various body parts left strewn about the place. These foxes have learnt to hunt in packs to corner cats, they’re acting like wolves in the wild.” Mrs Richardson, 43, says they are breeding out of control and all efforts to control them have failed but claims Bromley Council has washed its hands of the problem and refuses to get involved.

The research director at the School of Integrated Health, University of Westminster, has written to Jacqui Lait MP pleading with her to bring the problem to the attention of Parliament.

In her letter she said: “My nine-year-old son found our pet headless and torn apart by the foxes. I am sure you can imagine how distressing this was.

“As the foxes increase, and competition for food becomes harder, it can only be a matter of time before this happens to a small child.

“The council claims it is unable to treat foxes as pests and, therefore, does not provide a removal service. Is this due to government policy or is it simply that they have no statutory obligation to treat foxes as pests, so choose not to deal with the problem?” Mrs Richardson says 10 years ago you would only see an odd fox in Beckenham but last year a local pair had seven cubs and this year they have produced another six.

“There doesn’t seem to be any answer to keeping their numbers down and if hunting them with hounds was practical, I would certainly consider it.” A spokesman for Bromley Council’s environmental health department confirmed it does not consider foxes to be pests and its officers do not deal with them.

The only advice it could offer was to put down rags soaked in Jeyes Fluid.

If residents still have problems the council recommends they contact A1 Pest Control, in Dartford.

Peter Roberts from A1 insists “foxes are on the vermin list and need to be controlled”.

His suggested methods include, trapping, shooting, poisoning, gassing or hunting with lurcher dogs.

Anne Holmes from the League Against Cruel Sports said: “This is a new one on me but it fits very nicely with the pro-hunting lobby’s efforts to vilify the fox in towns and the country.

“There is no reason to believe incidents are happening often enough, or are severe enough, to suggest foxes are a real threat.

“We could well be seeing the latest publicity stunt from the pro-hunting lobby who just want to find ways to justify their cruel and barbaric sport. I doubt we’ll see hounds racing across Blackheath.” Trevor Williams from the Fox Project, a charity dedicated to the protection, rescue, and advocacy for the wild fox in south east England, said: “It will cause traffic chaos. It’s bad enough in the country but in town it will be crazy.

“They trespass enough in the countryside, so in an urban area it will be worse. They will be breaking the law every 100 yards.

“I reckon the hounds will end up killing more cats than they will foxes.”


Should the fox population be controlled by hunting in urban areas?

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