WAUKESHA COUNTY -- Officials with the "Wildlife In Need Center" in Oconomowoc on Tuesday, September 20th rescued two "pet" red foxes that were kept in small wire cages for their entire lives.
Last week, the center received a call from a homeowner in Waukesha County who said they could no longer care for their foxes -- one that they had for five years, and the other that they had for three years. The homeowners were beginning to have problems with their own health, and asked whether the Wildlife In Need Center would take the foxes.
The homeowners indicated these foxes had been kept in outdoor cages for their entire lives.
Wildlife In Need officials reached out to the Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Ozaukee County, which specializes in the care of large carnivores. Pine View officials agreed to work with the Wildlife In Need Center to rescue these foxes.
On Tuesday, Wildlife In Need officials went out to the property to rescue the foxes.
They found conditions worse than they were prepared for.
The foxes were found in 3' by 5' raised wire cages that weren't tall enough for the foxes to stand on their hind legs.
The cages had a small wooden hutch where the foxes could hide and find some relief on solid wood flooring.
They were offered dry dog food through a feeder on the front of the cage, and water in a rusty coffee can for their entire lives, according to Wildlife In Need officials.
The foxes were found to be overweight as a result of lack of exercise. They have poor muscle condition, and underdeveloped back legs because they've never been able to jump or stand up on their hind legs.
The foxes will spend the winter at Pine View, where they will be evaluated and rehabilitated.
You can help these foxes by visiting Pine View's website, and learning more about the work they do: CLICK HERE.
Wildlife In Need officials said this on Facebook, regarding these foxes:
"This is an extremely sad situation. We are heartbroken by the conditions these wild animals have been kept in, however, we are thankful that the homeowners reached out to us so that we could get the help the foxes needed. It can be hard to believe that there are people who still think it is OK to keep a wild animal in these conditions. Please help us share this story to help educate people that wildlife should not be kept as pets."