Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Message For Prospective Fox Owners

Today on our walk, we saw a couple walking towards us, so, as always, we stepped off onto the grass and yielded the sidewalk. Gizmo laid down without me having to tell him to, and he sat there politely, smiling with his tail wagging, as they walked past. He was being good as gold.

Naturally, the first words out of the man's mouth were, "The fox isn't gonna attack us, is it?"

Keeping my tone sweet, I replied, "No, he's very friendly."

"Yeah. That's what you keep saying." And they hurried past like he was going to snap at any moment.

I think that this is something that a lot of prospective fox owners really need to understand. No matter how well-trained your animal is, how friendly it is, or how much better behaved than most people's dogs/children it is, some folks will always see it as a wild animal. They will see it as a threat, and there is nothing you can do to reassure them.

I think a lot of people get this picture in their heads that they're going to get it as a baby and raise it and carefully train it and socialize it and it will be a perfectly behaved animal, so they will never have a single problem with any of their neighbors. This is not how the real world works. You could have honest-to-god Lassie reincarnated as a fox, and someone will still call the cops on you.

I have been very fortunate, in that the neighbors that all live immediately nextdoor to me have been very accepting of Gizmo, and seem to like him well enough. Many, many people with exotic pets are not that fortunate. Unless you are already very good friends with your neighbors before you bring an exotic home, plan on having issues with them. And if you are good friends with them, understand that you getting a pet "wild animal" may end that friendship.

People who are doing research on potential exotics often get so caught up in learning about feeding/housing/care/behavior that they neglect to consider the impact it may have on their relationships with their family members or neighbors. And, as Sybil's Den member MBouncer once said,

"... sometimes it starts with calling the police and ends up with somebody throwing a piece of meat over your backyard fence laced with de-con..."
Things can escalate. If you're already in a bad relationship with your surrounding neighbors, getting an exotic pet is probably not the best idea, even if you're fully capable of providing for it.

Picture Taken On: May 25, 2008


  1. That was great! Very imformative :) I've never thought of that before, I'm glad you brought it up!

  2. Good point! Growing up we had a Wolf/Akita cross. Wonderful animal, but there are plenty of nosy nut-jobs in world, and a few will make it their mission in life to make yours a living hell.

    In our case a woman said our dog attacked her. She told several different stories and then later admitted she made it up but we still had to get ride of the dog because SHE didn't feel safe.

    1. Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. I have a pit bull and she's the sweetest thing but everybody is so scared of her.

  3. I just started reading your blog, so sorry for commenting on an old post, but I'm really enjoying it, so....

    Anyways, this is also a problem faced by some of us that own pit bulls. Probably not to the same extent, but it is similar. People think that an animal they know nothing about is dangerous, just because the news says so or because it's "wild."

    Our pit bull is just about the coolest dog on the planet. I was walking him after dark one day and i saw a family with a small child, probably 2 or 3. the mom and dad weren't really paying attention, but the kid was petting a small, fuzzy dog. My first thought was, "Uh oh." Kreacher has never been around children before. EVER. And i know kids well enough that as soon as that little boy sees a big dog, he's gonna come running.

    And he did. He RAN up to Kreacher and started HUGGING him. I know a lot of very sweet, non-aggressive dogs that would bite a kid for that in a heartbeat.

    Kreacher was absolutely thrilled. Whole butt wagging type thrilled. Giving kisses thrilled.

    Personality and aggression are circumstantial in almost all cases. Kreacher was raised with a loving family that taught him boundaries. He's a loving dog. Gizmo seems to be a very loving, tame fox.

  4. Some neighbors throw a piece of meat over your fence laced with de-con (or whatever poison they used) for your 6mo old Dachshund because they barked instead of coming to talk to us like civilized human beings, so don't think they will have any qualms about killing your non domestic pet.

  5. This is why I don't want a fox until we have a yard big enough that I don't have to look at my neighbors. x.x; Which means... not for a WHILE.

    Though people get the same way about certain dog breeds (I STILL hear people go on about how no matter nice your pitbull is, it's going to snap and eat your family someday). And people all over the place like to kill cats just for the hell of it (reasons mine are NOT allowed outside x.x;;)

    But then, I am somewhat used to being ticked off by how people behave around animals... good thing, since I want to go into animal behavior consulting as a career. LOL

  6. Aw, poor Gizmo. Those people were pretty rude, even if they do have their own reasons. I've always loved animals and when I found out that foxes were available to be pets I was overjoyed thinking that I would definitely want one, but now that you mention this, I don't know if I want a fox even more to take proper care of them, or not get one so my possible-future neighbors don't harm them (I'm still in highschool).

    I've been reading through your blog, and I'm fascinated! Thank you very much for sharing all this and hopefully one day, I'd love to meet Gizmo :)


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