Pensioner attacked by fox in her back garden
AN elderly woman was attacked by a fox when she went into her garden late at night to feed her pet.
Margaret O’Shaughnessy, 88, was left with a three-inch long bite mark on her leg following the attack outside her home in the Firrhill area of the city.
The fox pounced as the pensioner went to lay out a saucer of milk for her cat at 11.30pm.
The incident is the first time a fox has been known to attack a human in the city.
It comes after the Evening News revealed a string of fox attacks on pets including cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and even a peacock.
Mrs O’Shaughnessy, who had to be treated in hospital following the incident, said today: "I couldn’t believe it was a fox - I didn’t think they attacked people. I heard a terrible racket outside and I thought my cats were being attacked. It was very dark and I saw a big shape on the pathway.
"I was just going back into the house to put the hall light on so I could see better. I had one foot in the doorway and before I knew what was on me, it bit me."
A neighbour in Caiystane Gardens took Mrs O’Shaughnessy to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where she had her leg dressed and was given a tetanus injection.
But two weeks after the attack, her leg is still bruised and sore.
"The district nurse still has to come to change the dressing," she said. "Hopefully this week will be the last time, but it’s taken a while to heal. The nurse said it was a bad bite when she saw it."
In July, The Evening News revealed that foxes had savaged scores of cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs as well as a pet tortoise and even a peacock.
City chiefs have rejected calls for a probe into fox attacks, dismissing the idea as a "waste of time".
The council ruled out previous pleas for action on urban foxes five years ago, but there have been claims that problems have increased because of the local authority’s efforts to replace black bin bags with wheelie bins across the city.
It is believed the giant containers may have cut off a supply of food to foxes, leading them to hunt more animals in the city.
Andrew Scobbie, Labour city councillor for Firrhill, said the council would investigate the latest attack.
"I will discuss with officers the best way forward," he said. "I have been to see Mrs O’Shaughnessy and I’ve spoken to Eric Robinson, head of regulations at the council. There has definitely been an increase in the number of foxes around and it is something we need to keep an eye on."
Lynda Korimboccus, campaigns manager for animal protection organisation Advocates for Animals, said she had never heard of a fox attack on a human before.
"That’s very unusual. Foxes generally run away from people," she said. "If it does turn out that it’s true, the animal must have been provoked in some way to do what the lady says it did. It’s really an extraordinary thing."
Gordon Buchan, the Tory parliamentary spokesman for Edinburgh Pentlands, was canvassing in the area and heard about the attack from Mrs O’Shaughnessy.
Mr Buchan, who has written to council leader Donald Anderson, said: "This is an issue that many residents are concerned about, especially those with pets.
"The area where Mrs O’Shaughnessy lives has a lot of young children. Imagine what would happen if a fox bit a baby."
A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said they had no record of any other fox attacks on humans.
"This is an unfortunate, but isolated incident. It is very rare for a fox to approach a human. We would like to stress that an incident like this is extremely uncommon."
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