A debate over whether urban foxes should be tolerated or exterminated has drawn a huge response from readers. Many see them as harmless while others believe they spread disease. Tom Keightly, who runs Pest Control Solutions in Hailsham, explains the rights of home owners to protect their property from foxes.

I want to make sure readers understand the options open to them with regards to control and removal of foxes in any situation, be that domestic, commercial or in the open countryside.

The culling of foxes is permitted by law and we are one of the few companies willing to rise to the challenge.

As members of the public, readers have the right to protect their property and livestock from damage.

You have the right to expect that you are not exposed to disease, however small the risk.

In short, you are expected to take control of your pest control problems yourselves and in most cases that means contacting your local pest control company.

Equally, you have the right to do nothing about the situation if you so choose.

Most people understand and, maybe expect, that fox control takes place in the countryside.

They are, of course, quite right.

However, many people do not realise that there are as many , if not more, foxes removed from our towns and cities as there are in rural areas.

When I say removed, I mean culled.

I will sometimes live trap but the end result is the same. I still have to despatch the captured fox.

The majority of calls I field are from households, followed by educational facilities, sports complexes and commercial and industrial sites.

All have one thing in common – a fox problem that needs to be dealt with expertly.

I have been controlling – and that means shooting – foxes for more than 30 years and during that time have never lost respect for the fox.

I carry out this specialised work with clinical precision and not without compassion and consideration for others.

I run a pest control company with many years experience and hold an HND in countryside management.

Like everybody else, I have opinions, beliefs and standards. I am not, however, misguided or unwilling to step up to the plate when it comes to discussing issues such as fox control.

One school of thought is that foxes are self-regulating and that shooting only serves to make matters worse.

Can those who believe this theory is correct answer me this.

Why have I managed to remove six adult foxes from two properties 50 yards apart to find that many out on the street again on the same night?

Earlier on I mentioned culling on the spot against live trapping.

My preferred method is to shoot on the site because the precision equipment I use and my extensive experience means that I can guarantee that no suffering takes place.

Trapping on the other hand means that a fox has spent several hours in a cage.

Though fed and watered, the animal is subject to untold stress only to be taken away and humanely shot at another location.

Releasing urban foxes into the wild is not an option for me because, by law, I am not entitled to release an animal back into the wild.

I may be prosecuted under animal cruelty legislation or the Abandonment of Animals Act.

I also do not think it is right to release urban foxes into the wild as they will most probably starve or be chased off or killed by their country brethren.

What do you think? Tell us below.