Princess Anne Hills Civic League

2012 Annual Meeting Minutes


Sunday February 26th at 3pm at the ARE


Meeting was called to order at 3:03pm by John Wilson, President of the PAHC and attended by approximately 30 neighbors.


After welcoming and thanking those who came, we observed a moment of silence for neighbors Jim Lock and William Roundtree who passed away this year.


We reviewed the minutes from last year and a motion was made to accept the minutes, followed by a second. The motion to accept the minutes was passed unanimously.


John read aloud a letter submitted by Howard Gill last year praising the outgoing board and John Salop for years of dedication and many hours of time to deal with the dredging of Stratton’s Creek. WEB LINK TO THE LETTER


John then introduced the new officers:


Beth Kulas, secretary, who noted that most business is now strictly done by email. She has over 100 email addresses, but there are 137 residences in PAH. Please give her your email or note that you would like to receive communication on paper. She promises to work with Bob Smith to update the website and take over management of that in the coming year. She would also like to hear of any security issues and can issue immediate security bulletins to the neighborhood.


Molly Ford, treasurer, we finished the year with $16,329.89 in the operating account and $3,753.17 in the dredging account. The board is maintaining the separate dredging account as a ‘rainy day’ fund.


Pete Pearson continues to serve as our Vice President.

Brian Murden is serving as the President of the North Virginia Beach Civic League.

Mike Byrnes is the Princess Anne Hills representative on the North Virginia Beach Civic League.


John then introduced our first speaker. He noted that the board is neutral on this issue and has spent no money on this issue:


Kevin Cornwell from Cornwell Wildlife (link to qualifications, presentation, website)


Notes from his presentation:

Our wildlife issues are not a unique problem

The idea that we have taken away the homes of the wildlife is a little misleading

Subsequent generations of wildlife have adapted very well to living with us and come to rely on humans for food, water and shelter. It is much easier to live by a ‘friendly’ house than find everything in the wild, so they may prefer our streets to the park next door.

Two main types of foxes we see around here:

1.Red Fox

a.weighs 8-15 pounds

b. lives for 1-4 years with the average lifespan being about 1.5 years

c.mate from mid January-February, with litters of 2-10 pups coming a couple months later

d.Omnivores – will eat whatever scraps they can find as well as small game

2.Grey Fox

a.Smaller and more aggressive than the red fox

b.Excellent climbers (like cats)


He also introduced us to the coyote. While not many are seen around here, it is good to know that they are fox predators and that they are fiercely territorial. A dog in their territory would be considered a major threat.


Why are we seeing so many foxes? Basically we are creating an environment that welcomes them by giving them access to food and water, either directly, or by leaving it outside for our own pets.


How can we manage the overabundance?

Sterilize the yard and house

Directly remove the animals – by law these animals must be euthanized as they do not survive in the wild if moved.


How to Sterilize Your Property?


1.Remove food and water, be careful of doggie doors, foxes can and will come inside using them.

2.Fence gardens

3.Pick up fallen fruit and veggies

4.Foxes will help with rats, mice and voles that exist in our neighborhood.

5.Remove seed buildup from bird feeders

6.Secure compost piles

7.You can cite anyone that is feeding the animals. It is illegal.


Secure Den Locations?

1.Secure all foundation vents

2.Prevent them from getting under sheds, decks

3.Brush piles

4.Elevate firewood stacks

5.Professional can harass existing den locations


How to Repel them from your property?


1.Shock devices such as an electric fence – illegal in the city limits

2.Light and noise may bother them, but can be ignored by a particularly comfortable family that has taken up residence under a shed or something.

3.Scarecrow, motion detectors that will move and make noise

4.Tennis balls, paintball gun


Direct Reduction


1.Neighborhood trapping – not viable here because of the park

2.Cage traps are not usually effective with foxes

3.Collarum device is expensive and imperfect


What to Do?

1.Enjoy them from a distance, but don’t create a nuisance for neighbors who are afraid

2.Wildlife will take advantage of any welcoming gestures

3.You can seek professional help for a specific problem. Look for a professional that uses integrated wildlife management techniques.

Safety

1.Keep you pets up to date on all shots. Foxes can transmit not only rabies, but parvo virus and other threats to your pets. If your dog is like mine and happy to sniff out any poop around, they are at risk.

2.Bring pets in before sunset for their safety

3.Secure pet doors

4.Avoid wild animal contact and contact with their feces.

Laws

1.cannot transport a wild animal without a permit

2.cannot transport animals to another site other than squirrels.


Kathy Carter, long time board member of the SPCA then introduced the next speaker, Lt. Squires (can I link to his information)


He promptly introduced Jessica Hughs who has worked on wildlife issues in our neighborhood for the police department


From June 2010-2011 there were:

559 trap calls in the second precinct

2200 in all of Virginia Beach

The 559 come from 190 unique addresses

13 calls from 6 addresses in the no-trap zone surrounding First Landing State Park

Animals trapped were 11 raccoons and 2 squirrels

Foxes are difficult to trap humanely


Lt Squires then reported on Animal Control

Animal control will respond to emergency situations involving wild animals

They will respond to calls about a hurt or sick animal

He reminded us that any direct harassment of the foxes by residents should be weighed by risk to residents. If you have a family of foxes living on your property, you may wish to enlist the help of a professional such as Kevin.

Another technique that often scares away just about any animal is sprinklers.


In previous years, animal control was trying to make residents happy and responded to trapping calls.

They would prefer not to do this and if they find healthy wildlife in a trap, they will release it at the edge of your property.

Trapping is not an effective way to remove the wildlife – if the habitat is welcoming, new animals will fill it.


UC Davis (PUT LINK IN) has an excellent website for wholistic wildlife management


If you come into contact with a wild animal, they encourage you to consult your doctor and usually a doctor will recommend a round of shots for prevention These are better than they used to be but still can be onerous.


Trapping feral cats is legal

By law your cat cannot be off your property

Bats are the primary vector of rabies transmission in our area.


Questions:


Mary Meyer? Is Virginia Beach doing any rabies preventative baiting?

Lt Squires – no

Kevin – That is done by the USDA Wildlife Service but is not being done here


Mary – I would like neighbors to know that I am a certified wildlife specialist and I can take any orphaned babies. If you see squirrels, foxes, bunnies, please let me know.


Question from Neighbor – If I think there are foxes living under my deck, how do I close the hole?


It is hard to know when the foxes are all gone, a wildlife specialist can help with this by attaching a 1-way door through which they can leave but not return.

If you want to cover the hole yourself, you need to take either ½” by ½” or 1” by 1” metal mesh and dig down and out 1 ft. If they encounter a barrier, they will try to dig under it directly and not think to back up a foot and dig there to get under it.


Tammy – Are there more foxes now or are we seeing them more? How do we keep the coyote from calling our neighborhood his territory

Kevin – Coyotes have a larger range that would include the entire park, and the one around here may have been seen down by Bayside as well. A 25 square mile radius range is not unusual for a coyote.

Beth – Your neighbors house has been vacant for a while and the new neighbors think there may be a den in their yard even with all the construction going on at the site. That may be why you are seeing a lot more fox activity.


Lee – What should we do when we are walking a small dog and see a fox that doesn’t run away?


You may want to pick up the dog if the fox doesn’t just continue on its way. Some foxes will stop to look at you. You can throw a ball, or blow a whistle. If you really want to scare them, you can carry a small airhorn (can be purchased at a marine store) that is about the size of pepper spray and should shock the animal into moving on.


Kathy – If you are having an issue with a neighbor’s cat, please talk to them before calling the police or trapping the cat.

Lt Squires – It is illegal to have a cat off your property and while an officer may not write a ticket the first time, they will for repeat offenders.


Kathy also spoke to the issue of the foxes asking neighbors to:


1.be tolerant of wildlife, they live here too, we live next to a park

2.but we want to protect our children and pets

3.be open minded and use common sense

4.vacant houses are an issue

5.no one is feeding the foxes now that we know of, though it is against the law and if a neighbor persists, they can be ticketed for doing so

6.trapping is prohibited in several counties in VA


John finished the meeting by noting that secretary and treasurer are positions that renew annually. Beth and Molly are willing to continue in their positions and the motion to let them do so was put forth, seconded and passed.


The Goodspeed Rd project is complete and we would like to thank the Barcos, Celeste and Mark and the others who own property adjacent to the property who allowed the work to be done.


412 Goodspeed Rd – we have notified the city, the bank owns the property and the city has given notice to the bank that they must take care of it. It was supposed to go to auction, but did not. Thank you to David Pickett for keeping up with the yard, but the bank is responsible for it. Also the second precinct knows it is vacant and can be alert for any trouble on the property.


Tom asked about security issues and the secretary let people know that a juvenile had robbed many cars in the neighborhood on February 14th. He was arrested due to other issues and some stolen property was recovered. He has been in juvenile detention for about a month until his court date in late March.


^2nd Street Sign – Is anyone interested in helping to maintain this area? Bob Carter has been maintaining the sign at the base of Goodspeed Rd and Discovery and we thank him for this. This has been discussed at Garden Club as well, but we have no resolution.


Bob – if anyone knows the boys skateboarding on our hill, please let them know it is not safe! It is very difficult to see them and know they are there and we are afraid of a serious accident.


Kathy – Rat issue – please seal your house, but they have had to have rats removed from under their house. June Flannegan had the same issue and our understanding is the new owners intend to tear down her house, which may release a bunch of them. This is when the foxes come in handy, but be aware of the issue.


Kathy also recommends we all see Act of Valor, the movie about the seals. Since the military is so close to home here, she urges us all to see it.


Pete Pearson mentioned the pump station that is being finished to the specifications of the NVBCL and PAHCL. The reason for the on-going construction is that there are several laterals that go across under the street that need to be finished. We expect they will be finished soon.