Dead Fox in the Middle of Our Yard and It's Stinkin to High heaven
July 31, 2010 4:28 AM   Subscribe

We have a dead fox in the middle of our yard in rural Vermont. There is rabies in the area. The game warden refuses to help. Garbage pick-up is not until Thursday. Please help with disposal tips!
posted by Xurando to Science & Nature (19 answers total)
Call the Solid Waste Management Division, Department of Environmental Conservation, State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 802-241-3888, according to my early-morning Google skills.
posted by xingcat at 4:32 AM on July 31, 2010

Also the inverted-garbage-can-with-a-big-rock-on-top isolation system.
posted by hexatron at 4:53 AM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Not open on Saturday.
posted by Xurando at 4:53 AM on July 31, 2010

The disposal information I've read online says that dead animals suspected of rabies should be "double bagged" prior to disposal, so I'd imagine a couple (or three or four) heavy-duty garbage bags would contain it.

If you use a shovel to pick it up and gloves if you want to be especially careful? Road workers deal with roadkill all the time and I don't hear they get rabies from it, so I think if you take some precautions, you'll be fine.
posted by xingcat at 5:05 AM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Get some thick gloves and some 3 mil contractor bags. Use one bag to pick up the body and stick it in the other bag. You don't plan on licking the body, do you? You'll be okay.

See also this question.
posted by InsanePenguin at 5:11 AM on July 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

Burn it? In compliance with local fire regulations, of course. Might stink alot but it would be sterilized by a big enough fire.
posted by XMLicious at 7:18 AM on July 31, 2010

Dig a hole in a little-used area. Use shovel to transfer fox to hole. Cover fox with dirt from hole. Problem solved.
posted by jferg at 7:19 AM on July 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

You're supposed to be able to find an animal removal person here. I imagine you'll have to pay.
posted by Ouisch at 7:42 AM on July 31, 2010

Vermont Animal Control Association has this to say:

If you see such behavior [which includes "downed" in their list] in a wild animals, do not intervene yourself, contact your local Police Department, Animal Control Officer, Fish and Game Warden, Constable or Sheriff's Dept. You can also call the rabies hotline with questions at 1-800-4-RABIES.

So you might try contacting the police, silly as that may sound.
posted by Ouisch at 7:51 AM on July 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

Already called all those numbers, "it's not our responsibility."
posted by Xurando at 9:40 AM on July 31, 2010

The animal control folks of multnomah county (OR) told me to wear gloves, use a shovel, and double bag my dead racoon (then wire the bag closed and put it in my regular trash). Otherwise, if I took the carcass to the curb so it was on public land, they would pick it up in about 3 days.
posted by janell at 10:03 AM on July 31, 2010

Yeah, what part of shovel and gloves wasn't the first clear though? Just because it's dead doesn't mean it had rabies or died from it. Foxes die, along with all other wild animals for any number of reasons. I wouldn't assume rabies but knowing it's been found in the area would encourage caution. Just use a couple of trash bags, wear some disposal gloves and shovel it into the bags. If you're concerned then also bag up some of the dirt that was under it. Then thoroughly hose down the area and the shovel.
posted by wkearney99 at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2010

Picking it up on a shovel and transferring it to a hole in the ground should be fine.

Rabies is nearly always transmitted by bites, when saliva from an infected animal gets into the wound. However, other body fluids can transmit the virus, including when they become "aerosolized." So I suppose if you were playfully tossing the carcass and catching it on the shovel, and a drop of something landed in your eye or mouth, then you could get rabies.

Wearing goggles and a dust mask while moving the fox will make your neighbors think you're goofy, but if it gives you any greater feeling of safety, definitely do it.

If shovel and hole aren't an option, stick your hands into the end of a thick garbage bag and grab the fox's body through that, then have a friend invert the bag over the fox (or do it yourself with feet and ingenuity). Tie it closed. Double or triple bag it. Put it in a can so no scavenger animals tear through the plastic and are exposed to the critter's body fluids.

Might or might not be rabies, but kudos on being smart enough to think about it.
posted by wjm at 12:11 PM on July 31, 2010

I suggest taking it to a local dumpster yourself rather than putting it out for the curb. I had a bagged dead squirrel in a plastic trash can during the summer once, and in a couple of days it smelled like Cthulhu's breath. I had to get someone to throw the whole can away.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2010

Bagged and ready to go but no where to take it. This is New England and and digging a single hole any where can be a rock filled endeavor.
posted by Xurando at 12:40 PM on July 31, 2010

End of story: talked to another game warden who told me to take it out into the woods and dump it. Don't worry about the rabies, let nature sort it out. So that's what I did. RIP
posted by Xurando at 1:32 PM on July 31, 2010

Can you just take it to the pound? That is what I do with the dead animals I find. There are 24 hour personnel there, and you should be able to leave it with them.
posted by Vaike at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2010

talked to another game warden who told me to take it out into the woods and dump it.

Seriously. What are all these "wear gloves and bag it" people smoking? It's a dead wild animal the size of a cat. Dig a hole. Even in New England you can dig a hole 6 inches deep pretty easily (I should know). Put a big rock on top to keep raccoons/etc out. Case closed.

(I usually just toss dead moles and birds into an unused/inaccessible portion of the yard. Weeks later, problem solved. A fox is no different.)
posted by DU at 5:36 PM on July 31, 2010

When I bury cats six inches isn't enough. It would need to be deeper if the concern was communicable disease. Or with an extremely large flat-bottomed rock that's hard to dig around.

(I'm just kidding, I don't bury cats. I cook them on my BBQ, why let good meat go to waste?)
posted by XMLicious at 5:55 PM on July 31, 2010

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