VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach man reached out to 10 On Your Side for help, claiming foxes are populating his residential neighborhood and posing a threat to pets and people.
“Somebody’s gonna get hurt, we have children in this neighborhood,” Mike Herbert said.
Herbert told 10 On Your Side a neighbor on North Lakeside Drive has had an unkempt backyard for years, creating a breeding ground for foxes.
“Bushes, overgrown weeds,” he said. “The inground pool has not been filled in probably ten years… the pump is right there for the pool, it never runs.”
On Wednesday, he and his wife reportedly spotted nearly a dozen foxes in the yard.
“If you give them a habitat like this to live in, then obviously, wild animals are gonna come,” he said.
The backyard is fenced, but Herbert said the foxes get out and roam across the neighborhood. He provided a photograph of a fox walking alongside another neighbor’s pool.
Herbert said the foxes have entered his backyard, causing him to fear for his two small dogs.
“One day I was out here, my dogs were at the fence just barking at the babies… I turn around and see a fox right over by my shed and it was the big momma fox… coming to charge my dogs.”
He said he and his wife keep a bat and fire poker nearby while outside with the dogs, should the foxes attack. He’s also started trapping the foxes and turning them over to Animal Control.
“I’m not trying to hurt the foxes… I just want ’em moved out of my neighborhood so my dogs can play.”
Herbert said he called Virginia Beach Code Enforcement last year, but the situation didn’t change. He reached out to officials there again.
Wells Freed, Housing Code Administrator, told 10 On Your Side the property in question was inspected on Wednesday. Freed stated “a notice of violation will be issued to the property owner.”
10 On Your Side spoke with a resident at the property on Thursday. He stated he intends to comply, and that a health problem has prevented him from taking care of the property. He also noted that he has not purposefully bred foxes in the yard.
“They just live there,” he said.
But Herbert said that needs to change.
According to Freed, the violation notice orders the property owner to clear all overgrown grass and weeds in excess of ten inches, to remove any trash and debris and to abate stagnant water in a swimming pool. If the owner fails to comply within seven days, he may be taken to court.
“I just need to get it resolved,” Herbert said.
10 On Your Side reached out to Meghan Conti, an Animal Control spokesperson, regarding what happens to the foxes once they are removed in the traps. We are waiting to hear back.
Conti did state that, “There are no Animal Control related laws that address” Herbert’s concerns, but that the unit is “supportive of the steps taken by code enforcement thus far.”
A spokesman with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stated that foxes are able to breed just about anywhere.