SAY NO TO THE PCO. Foxes are running out of time and they need your help. Oppose the Pest Control Order (PCO) and the ban on private ownership of foxes. Allow the continued rescue and rehoming of orphaned and injured foxes in need this September.
Sydney Fox Rescue (SFR) is a registered Australian charity and animal advocacy organisation. Since 2012 we have worked tireless to to rescue, care for, desex and rehome a variety of introduced species with a particular focus on foxes. All our rescues are desexed, vaccinated and microchipped and housed in secure, approved enclosures.
2014 Pest Control Order (PCO):
In November 2014 the then New South Wales Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgekinson issued a Pest Control Order for European Red Foxes.
As well as compelling landowners to control foxes, this order also made it illegal for any member of the public to keep a fox in captivity without a permit. The accompany document “Facts about the PCO on European Red Foxes” stated that while current fox owners could apply for permits, no further permits would be issued for foxes “acquired” [rescued] after March 2015.
This has meant Sydney Fox Rescue has been unable to rescue foxes since this time without risking an $8000 fine and potential jail time.
Why SFR opposes the PCO:
SFR believes that disallowing future permits for foxes to be kept in captivity will have a number of negative flow-on effects for animal welfare, disease and wild fox population growth. While Sydney Fox Rescue supports the idea of a permit system for the ownership of foxes, we do not support a limited number of permits for current fox owners only. It stands to reason that an ongoing permit system could increase animal welfare and accountability.
Fox Welfare Concerns:
Every year thousands of foxes are left orphaned by widespread 1080 baiting and other fox control methods. Under the PCO the control of adult foxes will now be compulsory for all landowners, leaving an increased number of orphaned fox kits. With no legal means to rescue and assist these orphans under the PCO many will be left to starve, unable to hunt for themselves.
By declaring foxes a pest under the Local Land Services Act the transport of injured or orphaned foxes, including for veterinary care, by members of the public (including Sydney Fox Rescue volunteers) is now illegal. This poses huge animal welfare concerns as only Local Land Services members and special constables (such as RSPCA inspectors) will be able to attend to injured foxes and transport to the veterinarian for euthanasia. With only a limited number of LLS and RSPCA inspectors, it has been the experience of SFR that these organisations have left injured foxes, particularly those hit by cars for days before attending the scene (if they attended at all).
Illegal Pet Trade and Dumping:
Without a legal means of fox ownership, and fox kits continuing to be found, the illegal, covert ownership of foxes is inevitable. In Victoria, where foxes are currently illegal to own in captivity individuals are routinely found with pet foxes in spite of the legislation.
There are a number of issues that arise from animals being kept illegally. Foxes being kept illegally could not be desexed or vaccinated, as people will be unable to take these animals to a veterinary clinic for these procedures with out legal repercussions. All foxes rehomed by SFR or currently in the care of SFR have received a course of C3 vaccinations and are desexed and micrchipped.
In addition to issues of desexing and vaccination it would be impossible to regulate the secure housing of foxes kept illegally. This would result in animals escaping and re-entering the wild population and breeding pool. Sydney Fox Rescue currently requires secure enclosures based on the American Association for Zoos and Aquariums standards for small canids, This includes a minimum 2mm thick wire mesh as well as a roof, base and lockable gate.
Finally, with no legal avenue for rehoming, and no central registry or accountability, foxes being kept illegally run the risk of being dumped when their owners are no longer able to care for them. These animals that could have been rehomed under a permit system will instead re-enter the wild population and breeding pool.