The little gray fox spotted around Arroyo Grande has been euthanized after complaints it was interfering with pets and livestock, California Fish and Wildlife confirmed Thursday.
The fox was trapped and euthanized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services department, according to Peter Tira, information officer for California Fish and Wildlife. (Fish and Wildlife was not directly involved in the capture of the fox, but it was notified through the permitting process for the trapping as well as by a local warden, Tira said.)
Requests for comment from the California USDA Wildlife Services office were not returned Thursday.
According to Tira, a resident requested the fox be removed because it was interfering with residents’ chickens and rabbits. The resident also claimed people were feeding the fox —something wildlife officials consistently warn against, Tira said.
Tira said state law prohibits relocation of wild animals, except in special circumstances. In the example of Arroyo Grande’s fox, which appears to have become accustomed to people, relocating it to a new area would not have stopped the problem but just moved it to a different area, he said.
“Whenever you interact with wildlife, it ends badly,” Tira said. “Especially in instances where people are feeding it and it becomes accustomed to humans. It comes from a nice place, but it never ends well.”
Fish and Wildlife’s outreach campaign, “Keep Me Wild” discourages people from feeding wild animals. On its website it warns: “If bears and other wild animals damage property or threaten human safety, they might be killed.”