Southeastern Massachusetts has an abundance of foxes running wild, and we need to avoid dangerous encounters with them.

During my interview with Fairhaven Animal Control Officer Terri Cripps, we discussed the numerous wild animals that can pose a threat to humans and pets, including the fox. The fox isn't at fault in most cases of negative interactions.

The key to preventing a conflict with a fox is to not make your home a food source for them. Like all wild animals, foxes are constantly searching for food, and they will return to the places they have found a meal. Therefore, if they find food in your yard, they are going to keep returning to your yard, and will consider your home a food source. Having a regular visit from a wild animal increases the chances you or your pet will have a conflict with one.

Experts recommend you regularly clean up the spilled seed on the ground under bird feeders to avoid attracting small animals like mice and squirrels. Foxes eat those small animals, and if they are in your yard, the foxes will continue to come for the food source. Don't leave cat and dog food outside of your home for the same reason that it attracts animals.

It should be obvious to everyone, but don't hand-feed wild animals like foxes. They aren't hungry; they know where to get food, and all you are doing is setting the animal for disaster by teaching them that humans are a food source. Once an animal loses its natural fear of humans, it is only a matter of time before it has an encounter and becomes Public Enemy No. 1 in a community.

When you feed a fox, you are actually hurting it and possibly shortening its life.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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