A husband and father took to Reddit to share a unique family issue that involves wildlife — and to ask other Redditors for their much-needed input.
Reddit user "efsus2" shared his issue in the AITA ("Am I the A-----e?") subreddit on Feb. 16 in a post entitled, "AITA for not letting my family adopt an abandoned pet fox?"
The man explained that his wife and two teenagers visited an animal sanctuary/rescue while he was at work and "apparently had a good time."
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The man added, "Maybe too good of a time."
His family learned about three foxes, each of which had apparently been a family pet before being surrendered — and they wanted to lend a helping hand, he said.
"I guess the volunteers/workers there talked about how [the foxes] obviously can't be released [back to the wild] and aren't accustomed to having to live purely outside with limited human interaction," he also said.
The sanctuary staff was "doing their best" to house the foxes until "they [could] find someone to adopt them," he continued.
The sanctuary told his family that "it's hard to, because people seem to be surrendering their pet foxes faster than new potential owners are willing to accept them these days," he also wrote.
The Redditor said his daughter "proposed the idea that we adopt at least one of them, since she felt bad for them … They have nowhere else to go," he continued.
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"I admired the thought, but to my surprise, my wife seemed pretty open to the idea and said, ‘I wondered the same thing, it would be great for someone to be able to give them a home, why not us?’"
The Redditor added, "I tried to shut it down and say it was a crazy idea, but they keep bringing it up."
He noted that his daughter had done some research, and learned that it was not illegal in their state or township to own a pet fox. (The man did not share his location.)
He said his daughter was also "looking into what sort of enclosure we'd have to build in our yard, [information on a fox’s] diet," and more.
He continued, "My wife seems to be sort of encouraging all this, saying, ‘Look, it wouldn't be that hard, we have a big enough yard, it'd liven up the place...’"
In doing his own research, the Redditor said former fox owners have reported the animals "stink."
His family "sort of rolled their eyes" when he mentioned the smell, he explained. He said their answer was, "Oh, it wasn't that bad, none of us were that bothered by it during the tour, dogs stink, too, they'll be mostly outside anyway.'"
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Saying he wasn’t convinced, the Redditor said he asked his family, "Why do you think all these people abandon them? There has to be some reason."
He added in his post, "I tried to put my foot down and shut the whole thing down, but then they got a bit upset and said I should at least be openminded to seeing if it would make sense or not, and how could I be so heartless to the poor foxes."
Other Reddit users largely sided with the original poster.
One person commented, "Your wife and daughter need to ask themselves why people are surrendering pet foxes faster than the rescue can find people to adopt them."
Another person noted, "From working at animal rescues myself, 100% of the time it's the stench. Eight surrendered foxes and every time it's ‘we can't take the smell anymore.’"
Still another weighed in, writing, "Yep, foxes are super stinky. We have a few that live (in the wild) around our neighborhood. I can always tell when one’s been hanging out in the front yard."
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, provided its policies on wild animal or exotic animal ownership to Fox News Digital.
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"All who own or are considering owning wild animal species, exotic pet species and their hybrids should educate themselves about animal husbandry, welfare and safety requirements of these animals and about the risks that the animals may pose to humans, other animals, and ecosystems," the policy reads, in part.
"No wild animal species, exotic pet species or their hybrids should be released into the environment (aquatic or terrestrial) unless specifically authorized by the regulatory authorities with oversight," it continues.
"Caregivers who find themselves no longer able or authorized to keep their wild animal species, exotic pet species or their hybrids must work with the appropriate authorities (e.g., state, federal, or tribal wildlife agencies) or legally authorized and qualified organizations (e.g., wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, or aquariums that are covered by the Animal Welfare Act or that are accredited) for proper disposition," the group also note.
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One Iowa man who spent many summers on his grandparents' farm said that foxes belong in the wild, period.
"I think God gave us some animals to enjoy close-up, and others from afar," he told Fox News Digital.
"Foxes are in that second category."
He added, "Plus, they definitely stink — and it is not a smell you forget, or want anywhere near your home."