Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer confiscated a red fox from a woman in Colorado Springs on Friday.
The woman kept the fox illegally for at least two years. Officers ended up euthanizing the fox because they determined it could not survive if returned back into the wild. In Colorado, it’s a crime to own wild animals, and illegal possession is a misdemeanor with a $100 fine.
Officers discovered her after she made an Instagram page featuring dozens of pictures of the fox dating back to May 4, 2018. Photographs and video show the fox in a dog collar, on a leash, eating human snacks, and inside a chain-link fenced cage. In one of her posts, she said she "rescued" the fox.
Frank McGee, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region described it as "kidnapping."
“Wild animals belong in the wild, period,” McGee said in a release. “People cannot take care of wildlife better than their parents. It is selfish and irresponsible to take these animals from the wild.”
McGee said it requires specialized education and training to handle wild animals. McGee also mentioned he understands that people may think they are helping wildlife by taking them in but they are not.
“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.”
Red fox are known to carry diseases like canine distemper and rabies.