Family forced to give up pet ‘dog’ when it turns out to be a fox

Sotelos found out they purchased an Andean fox in Peru – not a husky

Sam Hancock
Tuesday 09 November 2021 18:43
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Family forced to give up pet ‘dog’ when it turns out to be a fox

A Peruvian family duped into thinking they had bought a purebred husky were shocked to discover they had in fact let a fox into their home.

The animal – purchased from a shop in Peru’s capital, Lima, for around 52 Peruvian soles (£9.50) – first raised eyebrows when it began chasing and killing neighbours’ animals, including chickens and guinea pigs.

Run Run, named by the Sotelo family’s young son, also became increasingly aggressive towards humans – including those it lived with.

The canine impostor has since been caught by wildlife officials.

“About a month ago, a woman from around here said that it ate three of her guinea pigs,” owner Maribel Sotelo told Reuters news agency.

“And then two or three days ago, a local grandmother came and said that it killed guinea pigs.”

Ms Sotelo said she was forced to replace the maimed or killed animals, adding it was becoming an inconvenient cost to her family.

Run Run turned out to be an Andean fox, which has thin legs, a bushy tail, a pointed head and prominent ears.

The National Forest and Wildlife Service (Serfor) in Peru said wild animals are often bought by traffickers from Amazonian areas and are illegally sold in Lima.

Walter Silva, a vet and wildlife specialist at Serfor, told Reuters a number of “specimens are captured from hatchlings”, which sees traffickers “kill the parents [so] juveniles [can be] illegally traded in informal markets”.

“In this case a fox bought as a domestic dog.”

The vet said Serfor has carried out 128 interventions this year alone, in order to confiscate wild animals in Lima.

Illegally trading animals is a crime in Peru, Mr Silva added, and carries penalties of between three and five years in prison.

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