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Elmbridge Council postpones fox cull at Stompond Lane, Walton
A fox cull planned for Stompond Lane sports ground tonight has been postponed by Elmbridge Council.
Animal lovers and residents were alerted to the proposed cull on the community forum, walton-on-thames.org by user Observer.
The original post by Observer read: “I am extremely surprised and distressed to hear that Elmbridge Council are sending men down to Stompond Lane tonight (Thursday, March 7) with guns to kill whatever foxes they can find.
“I do hope the local residents have been warned so they can keep their cats and dogs indoors.”
The tip off was said to have come from a “reliable source” who said Walton and Hersham FC were contacted by someone who said they were from the council and were going to carry out an attempted cull after training had finished at 9.30pm.
No cull was carried out on this date, and was actually scheduled to happen tonight.
The council asked a contractor to look at the situation and decide upon further action, after concerns were raised by the football club about foxes scaring children and workers.
The council spokeswoman said: “This was followed by a complaint from our grounds maintenance contractor when one of their staff was threatened by a fox when they tried to clear the bins.
"Advice was sought from both our environmental health team and an independent pest control contractor on the most humane way of dealing with the problem.
“To date no foxes have been killed. It is difficult to know the exact numbers but an assessment will be made when the exercise is carried out.
“This is an isolated incident that the council is dealing with as we are the landowner. We do not have a specific policy relating to foxes and do not have any form of management or reduction programme.
“Residents and businesses do ring us from time to time about problems with foxes and we provide advice including where necessary on how to get rid of them. However each case is taken on its own merits.”
Residents came together to object against a fox cull due to take place, and planned to protest at the sports ground from 7pm tonight.
Initial confused surrounded the proposed cull as to who had initiated it.
A spokesman for Walton and Hersham said: “Walton & Hersham Football Club categorically deny any involvement in the proposed cull of foxes at their Ground by Elmbridge Borough Council contractors.
"Walton & Hersham FC were contacted by Matthew Armand on 01372 474587 and told that the Council had received complaints and said they were proposing to cull foxes and merely wanted to know when the Football Club were training so as not to interfere with their plans.
"In fact, Walton & Hersham FC are rather fond of the two young foxes who circulate freely at the Ground and feel that the quoted council spokesman, who inferred Walton & Hersham FC were behind the proposed cull should be called to account, otherwise this might be seen as a deliberate attempt by Elmbridge Borough Council to besmirch the name of the Club in order to get passed their proposed plans for redevelopment of the Ground.
"It should also be noted that the ground contractors, G Burley & Sons, are employed directly by Elmbridge Borough Council and that Walton & Hersham FC have no jurisdiction over their actions.
"Anyone wishing to have further evidence can contact the Club, who have got an audible record of the phone call from Elmbridge Borough Council outlining their intentions.
"Walton & Hersham FC note that, although Elmbridge Borough Council have now postponed the proposed cull, they make no mention that it was of their instigation and not that of the Walton & Hersham FC who have always been quite happy with the foxes presence."
A line on Elmbridge Council’s website reads: “Elmbridge Council does not undertake fox management. There is no specific law requiring councils to control foxes and currently we do not have the manpower, equipment or specialist skills to carry out such work.”