Mutilated foxes in Rustington could be work of ‘a very disturbed individual’

Two foxes found dismembered in Rustington could be a sign of a ‘dangerous person living in the community’, according to an animal rights campaigner.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 3:24 pm

A headless fox cub was discovered on allotments near Conbar Avenue on April 28 and, two days later, an adult fox was found without its head or legs on the same site.

The gruesome discoveries follow a number of worrying incidents involving foxes, including one found seriously injured by a homemade snare, a poisoned rag left in a garden and noxious paint rollers pushed into a nearby den.

Dora Nightingale is a filmmaker from Worthing who, since 2016, has ran the animal welfare group Fox Guardians.

The fox vigil at Conbar Avenue allotments in Rustington SUS-210513-151618001

She said the nature of the fox’s deaths could be linked to a particularly depraved individual.

“This is obviously a very disturbed and psychopathic individual, they are not just shooting them, they are dismembering them,” said Dora.

“A lot of people go that way to enjoy the allotments – imagine a child seeing that, they would be traumatised for life.

“This person is probably going to continue, they are on a roll now so why would they stop?

The fox vigil at Conbar Avenue allotments in Rustington SUS-210513-151939001

“People need to know there’s a dangerous person potentially living in their community.

“It’s clearly someone very disturbed who gets pleasure from harming and killing animals, and shocking humans.”

A petition set up by Dora has received more than 3,500 signatures, calling on Sussex Police to start a formal investigation into the deaths and for Rustington Parish Council to install CCTV and advise allotment-holders how to preserve dead fox bodies.

“I don’t know why they are not taking it more seriously,” she said.

Dora and a group of wildlife campaigners held a vigil and protest at the Conbar Avenue allotments, calling for an end to violence against foxes.

While the bodies were discovered in the allotments, there is no suggestion any allotment holder is linked to the deaths.

Many allotment holders and local residents regularly took joy in filming and feeding the local foxes, Dora said.

“The foxes are part of that fabric of life,” she said. “They are part of our community and it should be live and let live where we all share this space.

“It makes your garden come alive when such an iconic, indigenous animal visits.”

Laura Alderton had been feeding a group of six foxes in her Maple Walk garden when she discovered a towel drenched in de-icer.

The family returned initially, but she said she has now not seen them for over a week.

A few weeks ago she also found two legs and a fox’s tail on a tarpaulin in her garden.

A spokesman for Sussex Police confirmed it was investigating a report of two decapitated foxes found on the Conbar Avenue allotments in Rustington.

Anyone who has information or witness anything suspicious should report it online or ring 101, quoting Operation Tracker.

Rustington Parish Council said: “The council would like to reiterate that it is taking the matter very seriously and doing whatever it can to support Sussex Police with their ongoing investigation. The Rural Crime Team are overseeing the investigation and are being incredibly supportive.

“Should anyone have any information we would encourage them to report it directly to the police via 101. The parish council absolutely and without question does not condone any cruelty to wildlife.”

You can view Fox Guardians’ petition here.