SAW Official Statement on the Recent Incidents of Two Foxes Injured by Illegal Leg-Hold Traps in Arlington

Photo courtesy of Newhouse Wildlife Rescue

Save Arlington Wildlife (SAW) has been closely following the issue of the illegal leg-hold traps that have injured two red foxes that reside in our town in the past two weeks. SAW has been in communication with relevant parties, including the state division of wildlife, the Arlington Town Manager, Newhouse Wildlife Rescue, the media, and many concerned residents in Arlington and Lexington.

SAW is aware that the first injured fox has seemingly removed the trap. It is strongly suspected he has chewed his paw off in order to do that, as several eyewitnesses have said that they have seen the fox moving about on three legs. SAW is very concerned about the welfare of this fox and his ability to continue to survive in the absence of medical care if the injured leg is infected. SAW also has concerns regarding the safety of our other wildlife, companion animals, and people–particularly children–that are at risk of being injured by other traps that may be present.

SAW is glad to hear that the Arlington Police Department is following state protocols and has been directly consulting with the Environmental Police and our state wildlife agency. SAW is also heartened to know that the APD has launched an investigation to identify the person who is setting these traps, which have been banned in the state of Massachusetts since 1975. SAW hopes Town officials will continue to invest significant time and resources in solving this case and ensuring the safety of our town’s inhabitants, both human and non-human.

In particular, SAW would like the Town of Arlington to prioritize locating the first fox so that his injuries can be assessed by a veterinary professional and the proper treatment prescribed. Additionally, SAW would like a local effort undertaken in finding the discarded trap, which may still pose a legitimate public safety hazard.

Going forward, SAW is requesting that the Town to take the following measures:

– Draft a comprehensive plan and earmark funding and resources for an educational pilot program geared at peacefully co-existing with wildlife in our town.

– Invest in shoring up our Animal Control division and offering more independence and resources to our Animal Control Officer to handle wildlife rescues and intakes in a manner that complies with federal and state laws and the ACO’s training and certifications.

– Respond swiftly with widespread public notification as soon as town officials become aware of illegal trapping and the presence of wildlife injured from trapping within or in close proximity to our municipal borders.

– Release a strong public statement against the use of illegal leg-hold and steel jaw traps.

Save Arlington Wildlife can assist the Town of Arlington in achieving these goals and hopes that these tragic incidents can serve as a powerful catalyst to reaching a better understanding of, and increased respect for, the wildlife we are fortunate to share our community with.**

UPDATE ON THE INJURED FOXES: The first fox remains at large and is injured and potentially missing a leg/paw. The second fox was rescued in a collaborative effort between Arlington Police Department, Arlington Animal Control, Lexington Police Department, Environmental Police, and Newhouse Wildlife Rescue–as well as several Lexington residents. The second fox (photographed above) was transported to Newhouse Wildlife Rescue and his front leg was amputated due to the extent of injuries incurred by the leg-hold trap. He will continue to be assessed to see if his is a viable candidate to be released back into the wild. He has been named Phoenix the fox due to his remarkable resilience. Deepest thanks and gratitude to all who were involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of Phoenix the fox.