‘We can’t really do anything’: Penfield neighbors frustrated by town, DEC response to fox problem

People in Penfield neighborhood report problem with foxes

People in Penfield neighborhood report problem with foxes

PENFIELD, N.Y. – A Penfield neighborhood is dealing with a fox problem, and residents say the issue is exacerbated by the town and the state Department of Environmental Conversation’s refusal to remove the animals. The suggested tricks to scare the foxes away aren’t working, and the foxes appear to be sick, according to the residents.

One family invited News10NBC’s Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean to their backyard to see the evidence firsthand.

Tom Infantino says a friend recently drove into their neighborhood off Five Mile Line Road and saw dozens of foxes.

“And that started the whole awareness of – we have a fox problem,” Infantino said.

Neighbors have captured photos and videos of foxes lounging in their backyards, on driveways, along fence lines, and even on top of pool slides. The Infantinos are concerned about their small dog and the children who play in the area, as the foxes look mangy. They discovered the carcass of a baby deer outside a drainage pipe in their backyard. The town of Penfield and the DEC advised them to make loud noises to frighten the foxes away.

“And we start yelling and screaming, trying to scare them away, and nothing is working,” Tom Infantino said.

“They don’t seem to respond. I had the boat horn right here and he just looked up at me and laid back down again,” Delaina Infantino added.

“We’re like prisoners. We can’t really do anything. We have to always be on guard,” Delaina Infantino added.

The homeowners believe the foxes’ den is located in a drainage ditch under rocks on the adjacent property, and they have video footage of a fox entering the drainage pipe. Delaina Infantino has reached out to the town and the DEC for help.

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “What is it that you want them to do?”

Delaina Infantino: “I want them to come out here and assess the situation, because in our mind and in our neighbors’ minds it’s severe.”

Last year, when a rabid fox was spotted in Brighton, the town of Penfield released a statement saying it “has a large population of foxes” and that animal control will not intervene if the animals are “acting within the normal parameters of their species.”

“At what point do we get a response from a governmental agency?” Tom Infantino questioned. “Does it mean that my dog has to be taken and eaten? Does it mean that a child has to be attacked? What is the response needed for this situation?”

The town, after consulting with the DEC, stated that observation of the foxes has shown normal behavior and no signs of an imminent threat to the community.

Following is the Town of Penfield’s full statement:

“The Town of Penfield is aware of concerns raised by residents in the Stoneledge neighborhood regarding a group of foxes that frequent the area.

“After receiving the concerns, the Town of Penfield Animal Control Department consulted with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and visited the site.

“Observation of the foxes has shown normal behavior and no signs of an imminent threat to the community. Based on the current findings, and at the direction of the DEC, no further action is deemed appropriate at this time.

“Penfield Animal Control continues to patrol the area and will work closely with the DEC to monitor the situation.”

A.I. assisted with the formatting of this story. Click here to see how WHEC News 10 uses A.I.