This story was updated at 3 p.m.
OSSINING, N.Y. – The fox captured last week near Osage Drive has been released back into the area, Village of Ossining Police said.
On Friday, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) “would not issue a permit for our trapper to take the fox to rehab," said Ossining Police Spokesperson Lt. Michael McElroy in an email Monday. "Therefore the fox was released back into the area."
McElroy said previously the female fox was captured Thursday night. McElroy added that animal control officers believe there are “still two babies and the father at large.” Residents in the area of Osage and Mundet drives said they have spotted at least two foxes in the area over the last few months. With the help of a state-licensed trapper, Ossining Police set up two traps behind homes on Osage Drive East last week.
DEC representatives said Monday afternoon that they were unaware of the fox being removed until reading it in a recent news article.
“We were never contacted by the Village of Ossining Police Department or any residents in the area that a fox was going to be removed,” said DEC Spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach. “An officer did call after capturing the fox and he was reminded that the village did not have a permit.”
Rosenbach said DEC officials have since been in communication with the Village of Ossining Police Department and understand that there are two adult foxes and at least two baby foxes, known as kits. She noted that foxes typically create dens to raise families during the summer months and are rarely dangerous to people unless they are protecting their young.
“They generally have more than one den site and are active this time of year and it’s common that a family of foxes will leave an area if they are harassed,” she said. “Now that a female has been captured and released it’s likely that she will want to move her kits to another den site away from people.”
Kevin Clarke, a wildlife biologist with the DEC, said the Village of Ossining Police Department and residents could still file an application for a permit to get the foxes removed if they pose a direct threat to people.
“We have no information to justify killing of the fox at this point, especially if it has kits,” Clarke said, adding that if removal was justified, it would possibly include euthanasia. “We would have to look at the individual case and so far nothing has been reported to us. But we would always recommend that people harass the foxes to get them to leave on their own unless it is causing a direct threat to people, which again is very rare.”
DEC representatives recommend that any residents who feel the foxes could be a direct threat or potentially carry rabies to call 911 or report it to the DEC’s non-emergency, general wildlife line at (845) 256-3098.