COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers say a red fox was euthanized after a woman “kidnapped” it from the wild and raised it in her home.
CPW said officers discovered the woman had the fox after she created an Instagram page for the animal where she posted dozens of photos and videos dating to May 4, 2018, when the animal was a small kit.
Frank McGee, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region, described the act of taking an animal from the wild and raising it in a human home as “kidnapping.”
It is a crime to possess wild animals in Colorado. Illegal possession of live wildlife is a misdemeanor punished by a $100 fine. Red foxes are known to carry diseases such as canine distemper and rabies.
In her initial Instagram post, the woman claimed she had “rescued” the fox. Photos and videos show it in a dog collar, on a leash, eating human snacks and inside a chainlink fenced cage, according to CPW.
“Wild animals belong in the wild. Period,” McGee said. “People cannot take care of wildlife better than their parents. It is selfish and irresponsible to take these animals from the wild.” “It takes specialized education and training to handle wild animals, whether it’s deer, raccoons, birds or whatever,” McGee said. “People often think they are helping when they pick up wildlife. “They are not. These are wild animals. They are not meant to live in captivity.”
Wildlife officers were forced to euthanize the fox because it lived more than two years in captivity and officers determined it could not survive if released back into the wild.
“This was so unnecessary and sad for the fox and our officers,” McGee said. “If you see a wild animal, especially a baby animal, leave it alone. Call us if you believe it’s orphaned or abandoned and needs to be rescued. We’ll assess the situation and get it to a licensed rehab facility, if necessary.”