A worker at the Town of Borden-Carleton is trying to reunite people in the area with lost shoes she suspects have been plucked from yards by foxes.
Holly Bernard is the recreation director for the town and was at the Marine Rail Park with a couple other staff last week when they started to find footwear scattered around.
“Between us we found four sneakers, none of them were a match, they were all just individual sneakers,” she said. “We knew right away that it was foxes because it’s an ongoing issue.”
There are a lot of fox families in the area and Bernard said she thinks foxes are using sneakers as toys because she often sees small teeth marks in the ones she finds.
Bernard has been able to at reunite at least one young girl with her shoes after making a Facebook post. Bernard returned both laced black low-tops with a white heart pattern on Friday — but there was some damage.
“Both of the tabs on back of the back of the shoes were both missing they had chewed them off.”
Naomi MacDonald lives in the area. She said one night her 12-year-old daughter was playing on the trampoline in her back yard and left her shoes on the deck.
“We got up in the morning and there was a pair of socks and no shoes,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald said the sneakers were brand new and her daughter was surprised to see the town had found them.
“The back are kind of chewed off them so you can’t really wear them but she thinks it is kind of funny,” she said.
The foxes are still at large. MacDonald said she witnessed a fox running with a shoe in its mouth on Saturday.
Bernard said so far this summer the town has found 10 shoes.
“So far we’ve only got the one pair back to somebody.
She said fox habitats in the area are close to people’s homes and people have told her they have witnesses the small four legged bandits running across their lawn with a shoe dangling from their mouth.
Bernard said she thinks she has narrowed the culprits down to a specific family of foxes.
“We have a family that lives at the Marine Rail Park sometimes under the deck there and sometimes up along the Confederation Bridge,” she said. “If you are finding that many at the park its a pretty good chance it is them. I think it is a mom and three or four pups.”
Bernard has been working with the town for six years and says this is nothing new. She has been finding shoes since she started, but said the town was finding shoes stolen by foxes for years before.
“This year seems to be up a bit. I am not sure if they are just more okay with going into residential yards,” she said.
Bernard said it is well known in Borden-Carleton there are a lot of foxes.
“I know not to leave anything out that they’ll take,” she said, but she isn’t sure new residents know about thieving foxes.
“I think by the time they see that post and everybody is looking for their shoes they won’t leave them on the deck or in the yard,” Bernard said.
“I wouldn’t want to have to buy a new pair of sneakers just because a little furry red friend came and stole them.”
She said anyone missing shoes in the area can contact her at the Gateway Arena in Borden-Carleton or go to the rink’s Facebook page.