Or­phaned fox cubs for sale on Face­book

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Nick Hard­ing

FOX cubs have been ad­ver­tised for sale on Face­book for £120 each, as an­i­mal char­i­ties warn that sev­eral other at­tempts have been made to sell wild an­i­mals on­line.

Steve Dos­sett, a cham­pion cage fighter, posted pho­to­graphs of or­phaned fox cubs on his so­cial me­dia page and asked for £120 per an­i­mal af­ter claim­ing the mother had been killed on a build­ing site.

Face­book users begged him to take the an­i­mals to a shel­ter, say­ing: “They are wild an­i­mals, not pets.”

Even­tu­ally, af­ter sev­eral Face­book users be­gan to ques­tion him, a woman claim­ing to be his daugh­ter called a wildlife cen­tre, which took the cubs away.

The RSPCA warned there was a “nasty com­mer­cial el­e­ment” to Dos­sett’s case and the Leather­head-based Wildlife Aid Foun­da­tion (WAF), which took the cubs in, warned it had seen sev­eral in­stances of wild an­i­mals be­ing ad­ver­tised.

Dos­sett, of Wok­ing, Sur­rey, posted pho­to­graphs of the weeks-old cubs last Mon­day, say­ing: “Fox cubs for sale, 120 pounds lovely pets”.

The woman be­lieved to be his daugh­ter told WAF that her fa­ther had 10 fox cubs and that the mother had died in a road ac­ci­dent. She told the char­ity her fa­ther knew where the earth was with the cubs in­side so dug them out. When the char­ity asked for a pho­to­graph of the dead fox to es­tab­lish whether it was a lac­tat­ing fe­male, it was told the body had “dis­ap­peared”.

WAF vol­un­teers took seven cubs away from Dos­sett’s flat. There was no ex­pla­na­tion of what hap­pened to the other three.

Dos­sett ar­gued that he “only charged to get real peo­ple, not id­iots that will take them for money and end up not look­ing af­ter them”.

The cubs are now be­ing reared at the WAF cen­tre and will even­tu­ally be re­leased back to the wild.

Si­mon Cow­ell, WAF chief ex­ec­u­tive and founder, said: “Af­ter 37 years res­cu­ing wildlife not much sur­prises me but I am gob­s­macked that any­one would at­tempt to sell fox cubs as pets.”

The sale of pro­tected wild an­i­mals is il­le­gal, but foxes fall into a le­gal grey area.

Seven fox cubs were taken away by a wildlife char­ity

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