Naugatuck police officers shot and killed a sick fox that came out of the woods and ran around the area between Rubber Avenue and Andrew Avenue on Wednesday morning.
The animal was first sighted around 5 a.m. after police got a 911 call reporting a fox roaming around the main road, said Lt. Robert Harrison, spokesman for the .
Responding officers not immediately able to locate the animal at that time, police said. At 7 a.m., however, a second report came out after the fox was found inside the garage bay of the , Harrison said.
Police made attempts to chase the animal back into the woods, however, it kept returning and roaming around Rubber and Andrew avenues. The officers reported that the fox appeared unkempt and not well, Harrison said.
“This was a very sick animal,” the spokesman said. “We made an effort to get it back into the woods, but it kept turning around and coming back. That’s not normal behavior for an animal.”
Harrison said police were in contact at the time with the state Department of Environmental and Energy Protection, and the state agency recommended that police kill the animal. He said Naugatuck police were particularly concerned about the fox affecting traffic, as well as students that would be walking to .
Harrison said the fox was shot in the area of the . No people were hurt in the process, he said. Larry Santoro, head of the ambulance company, said the fox didn’t harm any equipment or cause damage to the ambulance company building at all during the incident.
Dwayne Gardner, spokesman for the DEEP, said shooting an animal is an accepted procedure if it poses a threat to human safety.
“Ordinarily we would prefer that the animal be scared back into the woods, but if it continues to interact with people, and people feel threatened, then it’s an acceptable practice to dispose of the animal,” Garder said.
Wild animals that venture into human territory, and refuse to leave, aren’t uncommon in Naugatuck, said Officer Carl Schaaf, the acting animal control supervisor. Schaaf said he was forced to kill a wild fox some months back and that he has disposed of opossums or raccoons before too.
He said the animals can sometimes get sick after getting into a resident’s garbage. While searching for old food they may also consume hazardous chemicals like bleach or other toxic materials, Schaaf said.
Overall, police said these wild animal reports aren’t unheard of in the borough.
“I don’t want to say it happens every day but it’s not an uncommon thing either,” Harrison said.