Boris Johnson bays for the foxes' blood after attack on bedroom baby


Environment Editor


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gave notice today that he is out to end the “growing menace” of the urban fox after a young baby was attacked in his home in the capital, losing a finger.

As five-week-old Denny Dolan recovered in hospital after having his finger reattached by surgery, Mr Johnson wrote to all 32 London boroughs, putting them on notice that serious anti-fox action was now required, including the possibility of a cull.

It is thought there may be as many as 10,000 foxes now living wild in the capital and there are signs that they are becoming increasingly bold, entering houses and sometimes attacking people, particularly young children. Mr John said yesterday it was time for action.

“We face a growing problem with our urban fox population,” Mr Johnson said. “Personally I wouldn't rule anything in or out, but ultimately this is a matter on which the boroughs must take the lead. Pest control falls to them.”

He went on: “Attacks like that on this little boy thankfully are rare, but foxes are a growing menace. Borough leaders need to look carefully at the facts and work together to respond. Better informing Londoners about foxes in an effort to drive them from our bins and our back yards would be a good place to start.”

Young Denny, from Bromley in south-east London, was discovered by his mother, Hayley Cawley, “being dragged across the room” by a fox which had entered the house, and although the surgery was a success, there are fears that he could lose the use of his hand.

Denny’s aunt, Lorraine Murphy, said yesterday that it was thought the fox had entered through a back door and was trying to drag the baby out of the house when it was discovered.

She said: “Hayley kicked the fox and it ran away, but the baby was covered in blood and his hand was badly damaged. The fox was shaking the baby by the hand in its teeth and hitting him on the door frame. There was blood everywhere.”

Mr Johnson added: “Foxes may appear cuddly and romantic but they are also a pest and a menace, particularly in our cities. This must serve as a wake-up call to London's borough leaders, who are responsible for pest control. They must come together, study the data, try to understand why this is becoming such a problem and act quickly to sort it out.”

But the problem of foxes coming into city homes is one which humans have created, experts warned yesterday.

The animals have been settled into the urban environment for many years and are generally quite secretive, but can be encouraged to venture into homes in areas where they are being fed by people, said the chief executive of The National Pest Technicians Association, John Davison.

“More and more now, people are feeding them and encouraging them to come close,” Mr Davison said. “You will get one fox, and two or three people are putting food out, even trying to get it to take from their hand, and the fox gets used to people and will stray into properties if it thinks there's food.

“It's a problem that we humans have created –  it's not the fox’s doing.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “Fox attacks on youngsters are extremely rare as faxes by  nature will tend to avoid human contact. ”We would encourage people to use humane deterrents and to make sure that there is no food source available if foxes are coming into their gardens and they are concerned.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living