5 cheers for Blue Star, Inc. demolition and A.R. Brouwer!

Baby foxesAnn Arbor, MI (April 22, 2017) – Some might profanely yell “For foxes’ sake!” if a family of foxes got in their way, but for Blue Star, Inc. and A.R. Brouwer this week, it wasfor the foxes’ sake that they halted their bulldozers and called in the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) Monday.

HSHV Rescue Officers arrived to find an active fox den beneath the building at the demolition site on 8180 Island Lake Road in Dexter.  Concerned construction workers said they didn’t want to go further until they knew the baby foxes, called cubs, pups or kits, were with their mom and out of harm’s way.

To encourage the furry family to find another, safer place to call home, HSHV Rescue Officers placed a small amount of ammonia at the entrance to the den, and set up a night vision camera to observe their movements.

It worked. A day later, the den had been abandoned.

“This is an excellent example of humanely and compassionately resolving human/wildlife conflict,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, CEO and President of HSHV. “Sometimes all it takes is a tiny bit of patience and a little bit of ingenuity. If we take a moment to understand the behaviors and habits of wildlife—if we, like Blue Star and A.R. Brouwer, shut down our bulldozers for just a second—we can figure out peaceful and successful ways to coexist, and act in ways that respect our environment, nature and all living beings.”

Springtime is baby time for many wildlife, so people can expect to see other young animals on the move.

“It’s important for people to know if you see animals like these foxes out during the day, they’re not rabid,” says Karen O’Connor, rehabilitator at Help 4 Wildlife, “They’re out feeding their young.”

O’Connor and HSHV have been receiving an uptick in calls on wildlife lately. Most common are complaints of squirrels and raccoons in attics, and woodchucks under homes and decks. Both HSHV and O’Connor recommend deterrents like ammonia – or other malodorous substances like used cat litter – in addition to noisemaking to humanely encourage animals to move.

“Foxes, like many wildlife, are harmless to people and generally avoid us, though that’s changing a bit as natural habitat becomes scarce due to development and they are forced to live in closer proximity to homes and businesses.  This may cause frustration for some, but if we stop and remember that we, as humans, caused this situation and wildlife are simply trying their best to survive, perhaps it will generate a little more kindness,” says Hilgendorf. “There are a multitude of environmentally conscious repellants, and often it’s just a simple behavior change like keeping food away from them. We’re living side-by-side with nature now, which many of us enjoy, so we need to negotiate how to best and humanely do so.”

The former Mill Creek Sports Center, which sold guns and ammunition and strung up dead deer on a “buck pole” during deer hunting season, is being torn down and replaced with a canoe livery.

“We’re grateful to Blue Star demolition and A.R. Brouwer for not just reaching out to us when they saw the foxes’ den, but also being so patient in giving them the day it took for them to move,” says Naomi Smith, HSHV Cruelty Investigator.

HSHV runs a free, 24/7 service to assist sick and injured wildlife and also has a fee-based Humane Wildlife Removal Service aimed at helping homeowners with unwanted guests.  For more information, please go to HSHV.org or call (734) 661-3512. And for more information living with wildlife, including guidance and education on humanely deterring animals from your residence, see hshv.org/wildliferemoval.

About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website (hshv.org) and on our annual report (www.hshv.org/annualreport).