Normandy woman fights to keep pet fox at home

A woman in the Orne (Normandy) is fighting to win back her pet fox after state authorities confiscated it from her care due to classing it as a “wild animal”.

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The fox is 11 years old, and has been cared for by the woman - named as Chantal Foucault - since soon after its birth. Reports explain that the fox was given to Chantal by a neighbour through a local vet, after he found a litter of apparently-abandoned fox cubs under a piece of wood.

Named Câline, the fox has since - according to Chantal - become “part of the family”, and sits on her and family members’ laps, enjoys cuddles, goes for walks on a lead, sleeps in a dog basket, “eats yoghurt with my father” and even has a “weakness for roast chicken”.

However, the law states that animals that are considered to be “wild and harmful” are not allowed to be kept as pets by people who do not hold licenses or special wild animal training, which is why gendarmerie and agents from forestry agency l’Office National des Forets intervened to take the fox from Chantal’s care.

It is not clear why they have only just intervened, despite the fox having lived at the house for over 10 years.

Chantal - who claims to be in regular contact with local vets to keep her animals healthy, and has also previously taken in wild deer and boar and domesticated them - is unrepentant, and is seeking to be reunited with her pet.

Before owning Câline, she explains that she had already owned four other pet foxes for a period of over 30 years, without any problems.

Speaking to news source France Bleu Normandie, she said: “I took her in, I have always taken care of her. My house is a bit of a 'Noah's Ark'; I love animals and I want to save them. I do not understand why the authorities are doing this.”

Now, animal rights association 4 Sabots & 1 Fer has come to Chantal’s defence; seeking more information on the fox’s condition and hoping to help Chantal win her back.

“I have made a complaint from an animals rights standpoint,” explained the association’s president, Valérie, through her lawyer, Isabelle Terrin. “Since Câline was taken, we do not even know if she is in good health.”

She has also taken issue with the intervention being this late in the fox’s life, when she could be at risk of complications.

“This [situation] could be imposing traumatising stress on this animal,” Terrin added.

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