Fox attacks teenage girl out jogging in Epsom
A fox has attacked a teenage girl out jogging - fuelling calls for cull.
The fox leapt out of the darkness and bit Clare Laudy, 17, when she was running along Worple Road, in Epsom, on the evening of January 10.
Following the attack on a baby in Bromley at the weekend Miss Laudy has spoken out about her ordeal and called for action to protect others.
Miss Laudy said she was jogging down the road at 8pm in the dark when the fox struck.
She said: "Out of nowhere this fox leapt out at me and it was biting my leg.
"I shouted at the fox and it let go but did not run away.
"I followed the advice of a game ranger in Yosemite National Park on how to deal with bears and I made myself as large as possible and shouted loudly.
"It kept trying to chase me and I had to shout to make it go away."
It tore at her leggings and scratched her leg.
The pupil at City of London Freeman’s School, in Ashtead Park, said she ran home in panic and found a large hole torn in her leggings.
She said: "I was terrified because that had never happened to anyone I knew.
"I was really shaken up and I’m still really terrified of foxes.
"If it’s dark and I’m walking down roads I get really scared."
Miss Laudy has gone on LBC radio to back the call for a fox cull, with London Mayor Boris Johnson describing the baby attack as a ‘wake-up call’.
She said: "I think they definitely should be culled. Things like this are happening more often. I think it’s getting out of hand.
"Sometimes they run away but a lot of times they are not scared of humans."
She believes people should be made more aware of the problem so they do not leave food out for them in the garden.
A member of her family rang the council yesterday but was informed that it does not offer pest control in relation to foxes.
A council spokesman said: "It is most unusual for someone to be approached by a fox.
"The council do receive occasional calls about fox nuisance but this tends to be about noise and bin raiding."
In a poll on the Epsom Guardian 71 per cent of respondents on Tuesday said they were in favour of a cull by compared to 43 per cent across south London.
When we ran a similar poll a year ago following the suspected killing of three cats by foxes near Pam’s Way, Ewell Court, it found just 54 percent of local residents favoured a cull.
Councillor Dave Mayall, who lives in Pam’s Way, said there was a lot of emotion around foxes but evidence showed culling did not work because the population bounces back.
Coun Mayall said: "If you kill one fox you replace it with two."
When asked about recent attacks, he said he had never heard of a fox attacking an adult before and described the attack on the month-old baby as tragic.
He said: "It’s normally a very sensitive issue and, as tragic as the incident was, these types of incidents are very rare."
Simon Cowell, founder of Leatherhead-based charity Wildlife Aid Foundation, said urban foxes were becoming more humanised than they should because people leave out food.
But Mr Cowell spoke out against public hysteria and demonisation of foxes in the wake of what he said was sensationalised reporting of individual attacks.
He said: "Many people have been calling for foxes to be culled. I think this is a massive overreaction.
"What we need is a measure of common sense and caution."