To The Editor:

Do you ever feel like you live in a zoo? This season it felt like the cruise ships had gotten bigger, the passengers bolder. In large packs they’d move, bug-eyed from block to block considering the oldness of the Northend houses and at each moment reevaluating the $1295.95 they dropped on seeing the world from a luxury liner. I never felt that my clothes were so strange as to warrant photos, but then again I had neither tan pants nor a large camera slung ostentatiously around my neck. Fair enough. “Hi, yes, I live in the neighborhood. No, I cannot tell you where to find the nearest world class seafood restaurant.” “What’s there to do here? I tend to go to work, spend time with my friends and family, and maintain my home. Would you like to join me? No, okay. Yes, I can get a picture with you.” And you do. If tourists want to take your picture, that is okay because they’ve come to see your home and they would like to remember it and you. And that’s okay.

It was not one week ago in what seemed like the height of cruise season that I watched two foxes silently have the same conversation together. Lounging lazily on the Esplanade Boulevard about an hour before dusk, the pair sat inches from each other waiting calmly to watch the sunset. When I pulled out my phone to capture the boldness of this pair, they glanced slowly toward me as if to say “Oh, fine, if you must … take your picture. Say Mr. Fox, does it ever feel like you live in a zoo?” It is a bizarre and unnerving scene when foxes, as freely as our beloved feral cats roam the streets of the Northend feasting upon the nourishment we’ve left so neglectfully in our garbage. One Sunday evening sitting in my front yard I was baffled to see that a plump little fox had torn a hole in one of my garbage bags and was literally up to his ears in garbage by the time I had gotten up to shoo him. And shoo he did– all the way to the other side of the street… I sat back down again and back he came. This time as if to say “You might as well let me eat your garbage–I’m just going to make a mess of it after I see your light go off at human bed time. At least this way you’ll be able to clean it up when I’m finished.” And he was right! So, I let he eat whatever was in there, then I cleaned up his mess and left it for the collectors.

But, that’s not the problem, is it? No, the foxes haven’t just figured out that there is food in garbage bags and decided to descend en masse on our neighborhood. And no, they aren’t eating stray cats–though to prove themselves so useful would have precluded me writing this letter. No, there are but two possibilities. 1) The foxes have developed a taste for kibble that has carelessly been left out for the exploding feral cat population. 2) People are straight up feeding wild foxes in the Northend because they think they are cute. Or, perhaps more accurately, they are feeding foxes because they are stupid people.

It is widely known that foxes carry rabies. It is also widely known that the Northend boasts many small children who may not realize that foxes carry rabies. And so apparently what is missing here is an essential tidbit of trivia: it is incredibly easy to die from rabies. I shall dispense with the biological intricacies to merely state that our chances of dying of rabies increase greatly when you have a large number of tame foxes in the area.

Hence, I implore the well learned and concerned citizens of the Northend to take action. When you happen upon an evil doer (look for a black cape, black top hat, curly mustache and uncanny cackle) feeding a fox, remind that person that our chances of contracting and subsequently dying of rabies has just increased. Insist that for every meal he or she leaves to a fox he or she must introduce one male and one female lynx into the neighborhood to feed on the fat and plentiful foxes. Thus does the circle of life continue and everything returns to normal.

Vivica A. Fox