Many Arroyo Grandians continue to mourn the death of “foxy” — the little gray fox that was adopted as an unofficial Village mascot.
An obituary ran in The Tribune over the weekend. The gazebo is still decorated with ribbons in foxy’s honor. There are plans for a candlelight vigil on Dec. 11, and a gofundme campaign is trying to raised $15,000 for some educational signs about wildlife and a memorial for foxy.
(For the record, we’d love to see a small bronze statue of the fox. It could serve as a landmark — sort of like the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen or the Balto statue in Central Park — and it would be a great place to lay bouquets in foxy’s memory.)
For some, though, tears have turned to anger directed at a woman who has taken responsibility for making the phone call that led to the animal’s death.
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In a video briefly posted on Facebook, the woman said the fox had been climbing on her roof every night, attempting to get into her house and bothering her children, her pets and her backyard rabbits and chickens. So, she called wildlife officials, under the impression that the fox would be relocated.
“I did not know that they were going to euthanize the fox,” she said. “I had no idea.”
The woman went on to say that she now fears for her safety: “I would ask if you see me walking around Arroyo Grande, that you don’t do me any physical harm.”
This situation is wrong in so many ways.
Just so we’re clear, no matter how much you loved foxy, it’s not OK to threaten or harass or spew venom at someone you deem responsible for his death. If anything, that dishonors the joy that foxy inspired.
We understand the fox touched the lives of many people. Like many others, we believe the U.S. Department of Agriculture should have made an effort to place it with a wildlife rescue organization before destroying it. (If you happen to be reading, USDA, could you please, please alert the community should a similar situation arise in the future?)
But instead of looking for a scapegoat, how about putting the energy into education efforts? That way, the next time a fox or some other orphaned or injured wild animal wanders into a backyard, residents will know to leave it alone and call a wildlife rescue organization — which just might save the animal’s life.
Bouquets and brickbats appear occasionally in The Tribune. If there’s something (or someone) you would like to honor with a bouquet or chastise with a brickbat, email your idea to email@example.com.