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Should foxes be culled after recent attack on two babies?

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Should foxes be culled after recent attack on two babies?

Post by ufercoffy on 08.06.10 19:33

Sitting on a lawn in their summer dresses with a floppy hats to shield them from the sun this is nine-month-old Isabella Koupparis and her twin sister Lola who were savaged by a fox.
Isabella who gazes up at the camera is now fighting for her life in intensive care while Lola's face was described by her mother as 'looking like something from a horror movie'.
Their devastated family today revealed that the girls who were attacked as they slept in their beds have suffered 'life-changing injuries'.

Twins Isabella (left) and Lola Kouparris who were mauled by a fox. Isabella is fighting for her life in intensive care while Lola's face was described by her mother as 'looking like something from a horror move'

Pauline Koupparis was visibly upset as left her home, saying one of her twins was 'not doing so well'

The girls are currently being treated in separate hospitals where they are both undergoing surgery, their uncle David Watson said.
Parents Nicolas and Pauline Koupparis are keeping a bedside vigil as the girls are treated at separate hospitals.
Revealing the extent of their injuries, Mr Watson said: 'It's pretty life-changing if a fox has mauled you in the arm and face.
'They're going through surgery at the moment.
'They're improving. Lola is a lot better and Isabella is at Great Ormond Street.'
The nine-month-old girls were operated on after the attack at their home in Hackney, North-East London, left one of them with facial wounds 'like something from a horror movie'.
While Isabella is at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the other, Lola, is recovering at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
Their mother spoke of her ‘living nightmare’ over the attack yesterday.
Fashion designer Pauline Koupparis, 41, told of the appalling moment she discovered her nine-month-old daughters had been savaged in their £800,000 family home.
The attack happened late on Saturday in Hackney, North-East London, as the girls’ parents sat downstairs.

The fox crept in through sliding French windows which were open because of the heat and up the stairs into the girls’ bedroom.


Yesterday Mrs Koupparis, a former merchandising head for British Home Stores, said: ‘It’s like a nightmare, it’s like a living nightmare. That’s the only way I can describe it, to be honest.
‘It’s something I would never expect to happen to anybody, let alone happen to my beautiful girls.
‘We were having such a beautiful day, a lovely family day, amazing weather.
‘We’d had a barbecue in the garden, we have sliding doors, we had them open because it was a warm evening. We were watching Britain’s Got Talent.
‘We heard the girls crying, I went up the stairs. I thought it was a funny cry. It was quite muffled but very pained. I went into the room and I saw some blood on Isabella’s cot. I thought she’d had a nose bleed.
‘I put on the light – and I saw a fox, and it wasn’t even scared of me. It just looked me straight in the eye.
‘I started screaming as I realised Lola was also covered in blood.’

The Koupparis home: The fox made its way in through the open sliding windows, circled

‘My husband came running up, and we were both screaming hysterically – and the fox didn’t even leave the room.
‘The girls were covered in blood crying, we were hysterical.’
The couple chased the fox from the house.

London Mayor Boris Johnson today said councils should 'focus on their duties for pest control'.
He described foxes as a pest and a menace and which could, in rare circumstances, pose a threat to humans.
He said: 'It's right that boroughs should focus on their duties for pest control because as romantic and cuddly as a fox is, it is also a pest.'

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that officers who responded to the original 999 call saw a fox when they arrived outside the property in a fashionable part of Hackney.
Mrs Koupparis and her husband Nick, 40, a television company accountant, spent most of yesterday at the Royal London Hospital with the twins.

Isabella was later moved to Great Ormond Street for more treatment and her mother said: ‘Isabella is in special care, she’s not faring as well.
‘She’s on so many different drugs and machinery. Her arm was very badly damaged. They’ve both had surgery.’
Mrs Koupparis, who also has a son, Max, four, said Lola ‘looks dreadful’. She added: ‘One side of her face is beautiful. The other side is like something from a horror movie.
‘She looks like she’s been in a terrible accident. She also has puncture marks on her arm.’ However, she said Lola was ‘doing really really well, eating, responding to people’ and laughing and smiling.

Frightening attack: Nick Koupparis, father of the twins, chased the fox out of the family's three-storey house in Stoke Newington, east London

Neighbours who have been worried for some time about ever more brazen foxes said they no longer felt safe in their gardens after the attack, with concerned mothers forwarding text messages warning of the danger.
One nearby resident, Max Langton, said he had found a fox in his six-month-old son’s bedroom three months ago and chased it away.
And Joe Lobenstein, a former mayor of Hackney, said he had written to the borough environmental health department in 1993 and 2000 to raise the concerns of families with young children and demanding ‘appropriate action be taken before a nasty accident occurred’.
Mr Lobenstein, 83, said: ‘I wrote that hungry stray foxes are prone to be unpredictable and it seems to me that in a heavily built-up area where there’s a considerable mix of very young and very old people the problem should not be taken lightly.
‘The council did not act positively and although I very much commiserate with the family that has had such a terrible accident, it was the sort of accident which would one day happen and did happen.’
He said council officers insisted that foxes were not territorial animals so would not present a danger to residents. Hackney council insisted yesterday that there were no indications that the borough had more foxes than any other part of London or urban Britain.
But grandmother Fatma Kabay, 52, a housewife who lives on the same street as the Koupparis family, said: ‘Foxes are a big problem around here and terrorise our streets.

Bedside vigil: Mrs Koupparis left home yesterday clutching a pack of nappies. She and her husband spent the weekend by their children's bedsides

‘There’s loads of them everywhere, especially at night – and they’re not scared of humans at all.
‘I have grandchildren and I don’t want them playing outside in case they get attacked by a fox.
‘The council should do something about it because they are wild animals and very dangerous. Maybe this tragedy will give them the push they need.’
Health trainer Michael Parra, 48, who lives a few doors from the Koupparis family, said: ‘Foxes are a serious problem around here and they are getting bolder.
‘They even tried to attack my dog when he was a puppy. They’re dangerous and a nuisance and I’m really shocked, what’s happened is really awful.
‘I think there is a den nearby where they are breeding and I’ve seen a couple of cubs.
‘They terrorise gardens and go through rubbish. They are pests – but this has taken a sinister turn.
‘The police came out telling us to keep our windows and doors shut at night because of the situation and because of the heat.
‘Foxes are just everywhere and the council should do something about it. I’ve complained but nothing’s been done.
‘I’ve lived here six years and it’s always been a problem.’
Police confirmed a fox had been caught in a trap at the Koupparis home on Sunday night and destroyed – although they could not confirm it was the culprit for the attack.
A Met spokesman added: ‘The traps will remain in situ for the time being.’
Hackney council said it had never known a fox to turn on children or adults.
A spokesman said: ‘We always advise residents to make sure they secure their bins and their fences, and to not leave food out.
‘All the expert advice we have had suggests that shocking incidents like this are incredibly rare, and our thoughts are with the children and their family.’
There have been reports of only a handful of attacks by foxes on humans in their homes in recent years across England.
Foxes are not a protected species – which means it is not by definition an offence to kill one.
But legislation brought in by Labour and aimed at foxhunting enthusiasts makes it an offence to subject the animals to abuse or ill-treatment, which includes pursuing and finishing them off with dogs.
You can still shoot, snare and catch foxes in cage traps, but caution must be exercised to stay within the law. You can shoot foxes only with firearms, not crossbows for example, and neither live nor dead livestock can be used to bait traps, to avoid spreading diseases or further cruelty.
The poisoning and gassing of foxes is also illegal.
The government agency Natural England even warns that catching foxes alive and relocating them to the countryside is inadvisable – and suggests that those set upon controlling foxes hire a professional pest controller.

There’s a hot-tub in a back garden near celebrity builder Tommy Walsh’s house and it’s a regular meeting place for foxes.
They gather on chilly evenings to stretch out on the cover and bask in the rising heat.
A few doors away they have been uninvited guests at a barbecue Holly Fairfax organised for some friends.
Across the road, Maggie Hewitt has to keep her kitten indoors for fear it will be taken by the foxes that traipse regularly through her garden.

Trap: Council officials put a baited fox cage at the back of the Koupparis home

And from the tenth floor of a nearby block of flats, Martin Weston frequently hears the twilight stillness shattered by barking and blood-curdling screams.
This is Lauriston Road, an ordinary urban street in Hackney.
It holds no fear for foxes. They routinely wander in and out of people’s houses and have colonised the undergrowth in their back gardens for years.
Until yesterday they were simply part of the way of life here.

Now the extent of their increasingly free range in areas such as this has been dramatically underlined.

Vicious:The nine-month-old twins are in hospital after being hurt by the fox while sleeping in their cots

Humans don’t seem to be regarded as a threat (and some around here put scraps of food out to feed them).
Cats are no match for a fully grown fox; traffic just a minor irritant.
Dogs are no problem either - even dogs such as Mr Walsh’s 11-stone Rhodesian Ridgeback, Alfie.
The 53-year-old builder from TV’s Ground Force programme believes the foxes love taunting Alfie by walking past the window, sending the dog off ‘like a bat out of hell’ but vanishing before he can get to them.
Mr Walsh thinks a family of foxes moved into the area 25 years ago.
Since then numbers have significantly increased and the foxes have become startlingly more bold.
Max Langton said he recently had to chase a fox from his six-month-old son’s room.
Mr Langton and his partner Louise Ford were watching TV when a fox wandered into the downstairs room of their home.
Mr Langton threw a cushion at it and chased it out.
But hours later, just before midnight, Louise heard ‘a horrible shrieking noise’ from their son’s bedroom.
When she ran in to investigate, she saw the fox underneath baby Jasper’s cot, trying to push its snout through the bars.
They had to chase it downstairs with a broom to get it out.
Louise, 32, said: ‘It was very frightening. But we gradually forgot about it - until yesterday.
‘The foxes around there are really bold. They don’t seem to be frightened of anything.’

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Re: Should foxes be culled after recent attack on two babies?

Post by kangdang on 08.06.10 21:32

Foxes have certainly become bolder and there appears to be more of them. I live in inner city, foxes visit my garden in daylight on a daily basis. Last summer I was pottering in the kitchen, walked through into the living room and their stood a cheeky fox by the television...gave me the fright of my life I can tell you. Throughout the night they are to be heard yapping and rumaging through rubbish. In fact, I cannot remember the last morning that I left the house without seeing mine or a neighbouring houses rubbish strewn across the path and road.

There does need to be a reduction of foxes in urban areas, although I am against culling generally I can think of no otherway around the problem...unless of course the councils want to dip their hands in their pockets and supply all with deep wheelie bins so the pesky blighters are starved out.

What a pair of bonny lasses, I do hope they both make a full recovery.

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Re: Should foxes be culled after recent attack on two babies?

Post by littlepixie on 08.06.10 21:37

I don't think people should feed them. My neighbour used to feed them and it drove me mad. They set up home in an old badger set just over my wall and my neighbour loved it. Once they know there is a food source they become bolder and bolder. I was always careful to lock my hens away but one day they came during the day. They dis-armed the cockerel first, they didnt kill him but mortally wounded him so he could not defend the hens and then massacred the lot. Many of those killed were left un-eaten.
When one of my ewes was lambing they were circling like wolves. Luckily I got the ewe and lamb inside but they were over the wall straight away the minute I walked off.
I was surprised to hear they had actually entered a house and attacked babies but I suppose if people are semi-taming them by feeding them and encouraging them into their gardens they are losing their fear of humans.
They are already shot around here.

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Re: Should foxes be culled after recent attack on two babies?

Post by twinkle on 08.06.10 22:09

How awful, I just pray they both recover from this.
I'm definately not a fan of killing anything, but I would find it hard to feel much compassion for them if I was this mother.

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Re: Should foxes be culled after recent attack on two babies?

Post by kangdang on 08.06.10 22:28

Hi Littlepixie,

I think it may well be the case that urban foxes are simply becoming accustomed to sharing the environment with humans. If they encounter us every day, and they are by and large ignored...which it seems they are (other than kindly pests like your, then will have nothing much to fear.

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