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Forum News Service, Published October 14 2013

Minnesota DNR advises against feeding foxes

DULUTH - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is telling people not to feed the foxes on Duluth’s Park Point.

Wildlife managers are receiving increasing numbers of calls from area residents concerned about habituated foxes approaching people and homes.

“Feeding wildlife may appear harmless, but it leads to a number of problems for the animal and can create conflicts with your neighbors who may not be comfortable having wildlife close to their children, pets and homes,” Martha Minchak, a DNR assistant wildlife manager, said. “We’ve received complaints of nearly tame foxes stepping over people on the beach, and attempting to follow people into their homes. Some people enjoy the interaction, but others are quite upset by it.”

Wild foxes generally are not considered a threat to people, but can be carriers of canine diseases such as mange, rabies, parvo virus and others that can spread to domesticated pets, livestock and people. Problems can be exacerbated when human-fed animals concentrate in feeding areas, or their population is unnaturally inflated by feeding.