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Fox cub left with injuries caused by football net in York


11:38am 21st April 2017

The RSPCA has urged homeowners, schools, recreation grounds and sports clubs to pack netting away at the end of games to stop wild animals and birds getting tangled and injured.

The advice comes after a young fox cub was injured after getting trapped in an old discarded football net, at the back of a garden on Rawcliffe Lane in York, North Yorkshire.

RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Leanne Honess-Heather was called to the scene by a man who spotted the stricken and distressed animal on Sunday morning (16 April).

She said:

“The man had managed to untangle the poor cub but he still had some loose bits of net wrapped around his neck and his paw, which was injured.

“The man had managed to free the little fox and confined him until I could get there. When I arrived, I could tell the cub was understandably quite frightened and distressed. He had swelling to the lower leg where the netting had dug in as he struggled.

“I knew he would need treatment so I took him to a local wildlife vet in Stamford Bridge.”

The fox cub was x-rayed to check for any breaks, luckily there were none. He was treated for the swelling and taken to a local wildlife rehabilitator overnight. The following day he was alert, eating well and bearing weight on his leg.


ACO Honess-Heather added:

“Thankfully, the cub continued to improve so I was able to release him back into the area where he was found so he could be reunited with his family. I’d like to thank the gentleman who found the fox as he undoubtedly saved his life.

“Any type of netting poses a dangerous hazard to our wildlife and to pets, like cats, from sports nets to garden and pond netting.

“This little fox was lucky, he could easily have suffered fatal injuries or, if not spotted, died a slow and painful death tangled in the net.

“That’s why it’s so important that netting isn’t left unattended. Sport nets like football goals are often set up and left unattended in gardens and parks with many people not realising they can be death traps for wildlife.

“It is an extremely frightening experience for any animal but particularly for wildlife as they are so wary of human contact.

“The problem is so easily avoidable by ensuring nets are removed and stored, or taken home after a game of football and any discarded netting is safely placed in a bin. I would ask anyone with a net in their garden to please consider the consequences for animals and birds and make frequent checks so that any trapped wildlife may be freed.”

Other forms of garden netting, like pond or fruit netting, can be a real hazard to wild animals like hedgehogs and the RSPCA recommends replacing these with solid metal mesh. If you spot a trapped animal you can call the RSPCA national cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.

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