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Baby fox living at Toronto's Woodbine Beach killed in suspected dog attack
TORONTO -- One of the kit foxes that had drawn large crowds to Woodbine Beach despite warnings to stay away has been killed.
The Toronto Wildlife Centre says that the fox was found dead last weekend.
They say that the animal’s wounds suggest they may have been killed by a larger predator like an aggressive dog “since the body was left behind.”
They say that officials will be reviewing a surveillance camera that had been set up to monitor the crowds in the area in hopes of identifying the dog and owner responsible for the fox’s death.
Since foxes are protected under Ontario law, the responsible party could conceivably face charges.
“Please keep your dogs on leash, avoid the den, and share the importance of respecting wildlife,” the Toronto Wildlife Centre warned in a message posted to Twitter on Friday confirming the death.
The mother fox and her kits had been living underneath the boardwalk at Woodbine Beach since at least late April.
While the city has erected fencing and visual barriers to keep people away from the wild animals, some people have still flocked to the beach to get a closer look.
Speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon, Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said city staff have now installed higher fencing.
"Both municipal law enforcement officers and Toronto police officers are continuing to patrol the area and to educate residents about the need to keep away from the fox family, particularly at dawn and dusk when the foxes are most active," Pegg said.
Earlier this month, the Toronto Wildlife Centre said that its volunteers were having to perform “aversive conditioning during daylight hours to help the foxes re-learn their natural fear of people,” which they had lost as a result of the crowds. It said that, in some cases, people had even been spotted hand-feeding the kits.
“Although the adults are cautious, the family now sees humans as no threat and are associating them with food after their babies have been fed numerous times. This behaviour could ultimately cause their deaths,” the centre warned at the time.