Trapper says foxes were released

October 20, 2017

The captain of the Dewey Beach Patrol says that stories that he killed a trapped fox were a fabrication and inaccurate.

Todd Fritchman said he trapped three red foxes as part of an effort to control feral foxes that had begun running out onto Dewey Beach during peak user hours in the last two weeks of September and early October, causing a safety concern. Fritchman said some of the foxes had mange and were diseased and had to be chased off by beach patrol members.

He said the foxes were showing up at homes on Chesapeake Street, and private citizens asked that they be removed. Fritchman, acting on behalf of the town, said he got an animal control permit to remove the foxes from the area near the dune line. He said the foxes were not killed and there was no discharge of firearms. Instead, Fritchman said, the foxes were relocated to private property within 10 miles of the beach.

He said because the foxes were close to people, they could pose a threat to public safety. Red foxes weigh 35 to 40 pounds and can prey upon anything smaller than them.

Betsy Damon, a Dewey resident, said on Oct. 7, she was waiting outside the Lifesaving Station on Dagsworthy Street when she saw Fritchman come up from the beach in a utility vehicle with a red fox in a cage trap.  

“I asked him what they were going to do with the fox, and he responded that they were contacting animal control,” she said.

According to Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control regulations, red fox trapping season lasts from Dec. 1 to March 10 but foxes can be caught outside of the season with a permit.