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Fallen fox inspires local residents to support wildlife rescue

Community rallied to save a sick fox, but the fox died, now they're giving to a local animal rescue in honour of their four-legged friend they named Sandy

When a fox with severe mange was spotted in the community of Sandycove Acres in May 2023, residents couldn’t help but think of another fox named Geetika who was found in the community and rescued by Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre in December 2021.

When Dorothy King’s mother called her to tell her about a fox on her property almost two years ago, King said, “I went straight over and sure enough there it was scratching as it sat in the warm sunshine. I had read about the work Procyon was doing to treat and release these poor foxes on Alcona area Facebook pages so we contacted them. Jennifer (from Procyon Wildlife) came to Mom’s house and we discussed a plan to get the fox the help it needed. It took several weeks to catch it because it was right around Christmas.”

Geetika was humanely trapped by Jennifer Howard from Procyon Wildlife. He recovered from his wounds and mange — which is a skin disease caused by parasitic mites —  and was released back into the wild 61 days later. (King chronicled Geetika’s recovery in this album on Facebook, courtesy of weekly photos and updates provided by Howard.)

There were so many sightings of foxes with mange in May of this year that residents suspected there could be multiple foxes in need of help.

Howard borrowed traps in an attempt to humanely catch the foxes at Sandycove Acres.

“It became obvious to me that Procyon needed traps. Jennifer wasn’t able to leave more than one trap in Sandycove at a time because she was trying to catch foxes outside of Sandycove at the same time,” King explained.

It turned out that one fox was seen many times.

"He just kept running," Howard said.

“The entire Sandycove community worked together to help our poor sick little fox by reporting all sightings to me on private Sandycove Facebook group pages so I could forward them to Jennifer,” King said.

“Foxes revisit the same places in their territory daily so this was important to know where the best locations were to try to trap and rescue him."

“The entire community rejoiced when he was caught and finally taken to Procyon where they named him Sandy! Upon arrival, he received his first dose of medication for his mange and hydration. Unfortunately, he was just too far gone and two days later he died. The community was heartbroken to lose our poor little fox, Sandy, after all of our efforts to capture him so he could get the help he needed,” King said.

Though Sandy the fox died, the need for humane traps remained.

“Mavis Thornton started a fundraiser on our Facebook group pages to buy live traps for Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre. We also put an article in our August Sandycove Newsletter asking for donations,” King said.

“These traps normally cost over $300 each with tax. Fortunately, Sandycove resident, Reg Howard runs a pest control business called Slug-A-Bug so he was able to purchase the traps for less.”

On Tuesday, August 8, 2023, two traps and cash donations of $1,610.00 were presented to Jennifer Howard for Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre by Mavis Thornton, Dorothy King, and Reg Howard.

“Setting a trap to get an animal in need sometimes takes a community. This is the second fox I have caught in Sandycove. Geetika (was) caught and treated... (He) spent 3 months getting better then we brought him home,” Howard explained.

“Doing releases of sick, injured or orphaned animals (once they’re healthy) is the best part of what we do. Working with a caring community such as Sandycove is so amazing. Traps must always be closely monitored on private property. Safety of the animal (is) our number one priority. All those things were met in this community. I thank each and every person who helped us catch the very sick fox,” Howard said.

Howard, who has been volunteering for Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre for eight years said, “Procyon is not-for-profit, depending on donations for food, traps, blankets — everything. All money goes to animal care. We are very fortunate to have people like (that) in Sandycove. Their compassion and care for the wildlife is wonderful. I set a trap for Sandy on May 24. It was a long haul. R.I.P. little one. He was in loving caring hands at the end.” She told InnisfilToday that trapping Sandy was a community affair, as Dean, Ward, and Jacob from maintenance monitored the traps.

“The support we have gotten from this community is very heartwarming. Thank you all,” Howard said.

To learn more about and donate to Procyon Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre, please visit its website.

Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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