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A recently orphaned fox cub in need of assistance. ISPCA
Baby Foxes

Public warned not to keep fox cubs as pets

A number of orphaned baby foxes have been reported to the ISPCA recently.

AS THE NUMBER of orphaned foxes being found in Ireland rises, the ISPCA has issued a warning to the public not to keep the animals – no matter how young and vulnerable they appear – as pets.

The organisation has experienced a rise in the amount of calls it has received about fox cubs in difficulty, specifically in the Cork area, in the past few weeks.

“Many of the calls are in relation to cubs,” said inspector Lisa O’Donovan who has responded to 10 requests in the past two months. “It’s always important that we establish whether they are orphaned or if their mother is nearby. In recent events, the misfortunates were orphaned.”

All four cubs that she rescued have survived but unfortunately the six adult foxes perished from their injuries. Most were apparently knocked down by cars.

The ISPCA noted that, at this time of the year, both countryside and urban areas are full of young wildlife who depend on their parents.

“Dealing with wildlife is a sensitive issue, especially regarding foxes,” remarked O’Donovan. “It is important that we respect they are wild and should not be kept as pets. It’s simply not fair.”

It’s also important that their release when of age is done correctly. Foxes are territorial and you simply cannot release an animal into an established territory that it has not come from.

O’Donovan said that it is “quite common” for foxes to be kept as house pets.

“It is sad for wildlife,” she noted. “People take them in thinking they are giving them a better life and shielding them from hunters but fox cubs have to learn how to fend for themselves. Otherwise they will be attacked by their own when they return to the wild. It is particularly unfortunate given the many thousands of dogs looking for homes across the country now.”

The recently rescued cubs are now in the care of animal experts who will rear them before releasing them in a “carefully-monitored capacity”.

The ISPCA has “strongly advised” anyone who comes across an orphaned cub to contact their local wildlife experts or the ISPCA.

A busy time for inspectors

The ISPCA continues to make routine call-outs following reports of animal neglect around the country. Yesterday, the agency sent details about two West Highland Terriers, who despite warnings, had not been groomed by their owners.

AJ and Skully (pictured above) were found in Portlaoise with neglected coats. Grooming is particularly important for this breed so the inspector asked the owners to rectify the situation. On a follow-up call, Chief Inspector Conor Dowling discovered his instructions were ignored and the animals were subsequently transferred to the National Animal Centre.

“This is a sight we see too often,” said Dowling. “Owners must appreciate all the requirements of their pets and, if you choose to have a long-haired dog, you will have to groom it regularly.”

A neglected coat can cause discomfort and distress, particularly in warm weather. It can also lead to more serious welfare issues.

The ISPCA said that AJ and Skully are “like different dogs” after the removal of matted hair and a good wash. Once they have completed their quarantine period they will be available for adoption.

More: Over 20 dogs rescued from “squalid conditions” in Co Laois>

Read: ISPCA rescues five donkeys in one week>

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