Recent sightings of foxes in Clinton’s City limits, and the concerns those sightings have prompted, have been the catalyst for a Thursday educational meeting that residents here are being urged to attend.
The meeting, a joint effort between the Clinton Police Department and N.C. Wildlife officials, is designed to provide awareness of the things law enforcement officers can — and cannot — do as it pertains to wildlife that finds its way into residential areas.
Residents are encouraged to participate in the hour-long event, being held from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at Clinton’s City Hall, 221 Lisbon St.
“We have had a couple of incidents recently where foxes have been coming into area neighborhoods,” Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley said, “and in our continuing attempts to combine enforcement and education, we thought an information meeting, an educational meeting regarding this issue would be a good thing to do.”
Foxes have been spotted in neighborhoods around Bellfield, the Clinton Cemetery and Coharie Country Club, something Tilley said wasn’t really all that unusual given Clinton’s rural setting.
The animals that have been seen in those areas, the chief said, were not believed to be rabid, but merely curious or hungry.
“The fact is, we live in a rural setting. Their habitat bumps with ours and because of that we have these encounters.”
But Tilley acknowledges that spotting wildlife in your yard can be unnerving.
“What we want people to know is that it’s not always as easy as calling us and having us get rid of the animal. By law we can’t hunt or trap an animal simply because it is a nuisance.”
If, however, residents believe they are in immediate danger because of an animal, be it a fox or some other wildlife, then E911 should be called and animal control will be dispatched.
“It’s just a matter of the situation. If the animal is posing a threat, there are things we can do; however, if the animal is just being a nuisance, just causing concern, that’s another matter. In those cases, we have to get in touch with state wildlife folks and get them involved. It’s a process and it’s one that is often difficult for residents to understand.”
Hence the meeting.
Tilley said Thursday’s event is designed to assuage concerns and provide answers to questions that many citizens might have, offering insight into what law enforcement or animal control can do, as well as what residents, themselves, can do.
“We’ll be there, wildlife officials we’ll be there, and hopefully we can give people a better idea of they can expect and why,” the police chief stressed.
(Editor Sherry Matthews can be reached at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd.)