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Get down for foxy brown: Fox Wood to host ‘70s dance for rehab and rescue

SPRINGVILLE — Whether you like to get funky on the dance floor, or are just stayin’ alive under the disco ball, your Saturday night fever can go a long way to help Fox Wood Animal Rescue.

Fox Wood, a wildlife rehabilitation and dog rescue facility in East Concord, will host a ‘70s Music and Dance Party benefit at the Springville Volunteer Fire Hall on 405 West Main St., from 6-10 p.m. on Jan 11.

Prizes will be awarded for best tie-dye, best ‘70s outfit, even best pet rock. Basket auctions, raffles and free popcorn and hotdogs will also be on offer, with beer and wine available.

“It’s a perfect time of year to do it,” said Fox Wood President Elise Able, “because people are looking for something to do. They’re looking for some fun – its dreary and snowy, and they can dress up in bright colors and we’ve got disco lights; I really am looking forward to it.”

Proceeds will benefit the not-for-profit, which runs entirely on donations and Able’s personal funds.

“Because of the way I operate, because of where I am – operating off of my own property – every dollar that's donated goes directly to the animals. I have no overhead. I’m not paying expenses. I don’t take a salary,” said Able.

“The funds for the dance are going to pay for food, daily care, equipment, caging, vet bills,” and repairs to current caging, she continued. “Snow does a lot of damage to the animal pens.” Proceeds will also help with animal pens currently in the works. “Wire is extremely expensive,” she said.

Located on Able’s nearly 8 acres of property in East Concord, Fox Wood has been specializing in fox, coyote and dog rescue for more than 20 years.

“I rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife, and I also provide sanctuary for a small number of wild animals that could not be released back to the wild,” said Able.

She said she is known internationally for her “expertise with fox. So I focus on fox. I will take other species, but I’ll usually transfer to someone else that focuses on those species. So I kind of specialize in fox.

“I have some resident foxes here, and they were unreleasable foxes. And it’s nice, because I use them to help raise the orphan foxes that I get. And that works really well because the orphaned foxes that come here from, actually, all over the state, are raised by other foxes instead of humans. So they turn out big and strong and really wild. And so I don’t have to worry about them becoming accustomed to humans in that way. It’s really a good system.”

According to its website, Fox Wood “is the only facility in the USA to specialize in the rehabilitation of fox.”

Able said she is also known for her work with coyotes, though she doesn’t stop there.

“I have three resident coyotes here,” she said. “I do the things that other people don’t like to do because they pack a bite: mink, weasels, porcupines, bobcats – all the things that [someone else] might not be set up for.”

Able said her facilities are inspected and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture, meaning, “the USDA can show up at any time and ask to see anything that he or she wants to see, as far as [where] the animals are kept,” according to Able.

“I have the largest pens I can have that are reasonable for the foxes and the coyotes. I have a huge enclosure for the coyotes, thanks to an Eagle Scout on Grand Island – it’s like a play area for them. The dogs are inside, and I have invisible fences for the dogs. I have almost eight acres, and it’s almost all used somehow for the animals to enjoy.”

According to Fox Wood’s website, Able holds a “class 2 license in [New York state] wildlife rehabilitation, with [rabies vector species] certification, a federal wildlife rehabilitation permit, a nuisance control license, a NYS permit to collect and possess wildlife and a USDA license.”

Able said the animals she takes in are often hit by vehicles or caught in traps and are in need of care.

“I’ve been a dog person, all my life. And, being a dog person, I have an affinity for canines – knowing how to handle them, how to move around them, what their responses might be to something, helps me to keep them comfortable.”

Which, of course, helps with the other aspect of Fox Wood: dog rescue.

“One of the things I’m really good at is catching dogs that can’t be caught by others. And that’s the area that I focus on in the rescue. I focus my efforts on dogs that have been living on their own because they were dumped or for whatever reason. And one of my skills is trapping them or catching them otherwise. I have a whole beautiful set of Have A Heart traps here. They range all the way from the size to catch a wild mouse to the size of a refrigerator.”

According to Able, those traps can come in handy when it comes to certain animals.

“I did spend six months in Springville a few years ago,” she said, “trying to catch a Great Pyreneese dog that was running [loose] in the village. And I did eventually catch him.”

The wildlife rescuer said that, after working closely with the dog, she was able to adopt the pet to the “perfect, perfect home.”

Her passion has also led her to work part-time as dog control, in a town outside Springville.

“It’s not a lot of money, but I do a lot of good and I love what I do and I end up bringing home the dogs that are unclaimed at the shelter. I work with them, and then I adopt them out, because they usually have issues.”

Able said that position is in addition to a full-time job as a salesperson for a local feed company.

According to Able, Fox Wood president “is a non-paying job.” “This costs me money – I don't make money. So I have to work a real job.”

While she does have help from volunteers, especially with bigger jobs around the property, Able said she performs all the daily care and cleaning for the animals: “Everything but what a veterinarian should be doing.”

And keeping the organization small is good for the animals, Able explained.

“Because foxes and coyotes are very naturally shy animals, I really can’t have a variety of people here working with me, so it’s extremely small.

“I don’t have time to apply for grants. I try to keep it small and community-based. Most of the money actually comes out of my pocket, but I do get donations. I’m only limited by what I can afford to do, so I try to keep it small. I don’t want to spread myself too thin. High-quality care, high-quality food, privacy for the animals” are key, she said.

If dancing the hustle isn’t your thing, Fox Wood is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, meaning donations are tax-exempt.

If you are looking to get your groove on, Able said, “It’s going to be a lot of fun. Great people, great music, awesome food” on the 11th.

“Come in your best ‘70s outfit,” she added.

What will Able be wearing?

“I’m not 100 percent sure,” she said, but “it’s definitely going to be ‘70s!”

For more information about the benefit, or for advance sale tickets, email or call 592-1861. For more information about Fox Wood Animal Rescue, visit

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