Gloucester residents seeing increase in threatening wildlife, asking animal control to expand service

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GLOUCESTER, Va. – Neighbors across Gloucester County say they are seeing an increase of threatening wildlife in their communities.

On Sunday night, Shannon Renfro says her family dog was cornered by a fox in their fenced in yard. According to Renfro, the animal looked dazed and did not respond to stick or rocks being thrown at it. After getting the dog to safety, Renfro says her husband got the fox into a dog crate, it was left outside overnight. On Monday morning, Renfro says she contacted animal control to assist with the animal, but was told the department does not handle wild life calls.

County Administrator Brent Fedors tells News 3 animal control handles as many wildlife calls as possible. But it is not mandatory for them to take the calls regarding wildlife issues like Renfro’s.

Fedors says last month the department responded to 62 wild life calls. However, because of their staff of only three officers, they are not able to respond to all of the calls. Fedors says residents should call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in these types of situations.

Renfro says she called the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in addition to several other area departments and organizations. She says at one point, a representative of an organization told her husband to just shoot the animal.

After several hours on the phone, Renfro says she took to social media. After posting in a Facebook group she received a private message from someone in Animal Control. Shortly after she made the post, an officer was at Renfro’s home and took the animal. According to Fedors, the animal was not tested for rabies. It is up to the Health Department to do the testing.

Renfro hopes her situation will be a lesson for neighbors who find threatening wildlife near their homes. She and another neighbor are teaming up to talk to government officials about animal control expanding their services to assist with wildlife calls.