I Hope So
They say bad things come in threes. Two kitties was hard, but worrying about the third is not easy. So when I went out to the barn this morning, I'm not sure how I should have felt. For there, lying in Chances's stall was a very sick red fox.
I had seen the little guy/gal last night in the hay shed and he/she'd run away as soon as I appeared. Then, I noticed that nearly all its fur was missing from the front of its body and it was really thin. I suspected a bad case of mange, but no more.
This morning the poor little thing was just there, shaking and totally "out of it" in the hay under Chance's feed tub. Chance came into the stall and the fox did not even react.
I brought Chance into the aisle of the barn to feed him and came back into the house to call Animal Control. The dispatcher assured me she'd radio the animal control officer immediately.
I guess it took about 20 minutes or so for him to arrive. He told me he'd call for a policeman as well, since he was pretty sure they would have to destroy the little fox, and shooting was the only way.
At that point, we went out to the barn and the fox was till there, shivering and semi-conscious. I took the Boys out to the pasture so I could lock them away from the barn. Tucker was first and when I took Chance out, of course Tucker "assaulted him" nearly getting my arm pulled out on the end of Chance's lead rope. But fortunately, when Toby realized the other two were being closed out in the field, he marched right through the gate on his own and I then had all three safely secured out there.
I called back to the barn to let the officers know the horses were safe and soon I heard two really loud "bangs" from inside the barn. Dave, the animal control guy, had warned me to expect two shots as he said, "These new officers don't know how to put an animal down the way the old guys did, so it will probably take two shots." By the time I got back inside, Dave had already put the fox in a bag for disposal. He said what usually happens is the fox gets mange, and then distemper and it's so weakened by both it cannot recover. I asked if they routinely test for rabies, but he said, "Only if it's bitten someone."
I'm not overly concerned about that since all three horses have rabies vaccines as do my outdoor and indoor kitties. And I, of course, had no contact with the little one at all.
So sad, and not the best way to greet a rainy morning here at Follywoods, but perhaps in the end it bodes well for my little Cocopuff. If bad things do come in threes, the number's up, and she is going to be OK.
RIP little fox. I'm glad, in a very sad way, that at least you found a dry place to spend your last hours and we were able to speed you on to fox heaven. Bless your little heart.