Beyond housing and care, there are concerns for pet fox welfare that stem simply from human carelessness. Due to the complicated legality surrounding fox ownership, it is the responsibility of the owner to be absolutely sure that their pet is legal, as a misunderstanding of the legislation could result in the death of a fox.
In one tragic example, Valo the fox owned by a woman in Fairborn, Ohio escaped from his enclosure and was caught in a rabbit trap. He was subsequently euthanized by city officials. Though his owner possessed the state-required permits for her fox, according to the mayor she had been violating a city ordinance (WHIO, 2014).
Illegally owned animals, whether the owner is aware or not, are at risk of being seized and euthanized solely because of the irresponsibility of their caretakers. Anyone thinking they can sneak their pet past the authorities or that they can selectively omit portions of legislation regarding licensing and permits presents an immediate welfare risk to any fox they wish to own.
Additionally, it is up to the owners to understand the temperament of their animal. Particularly with ranched foxes, the degree to which an animal is comfortable with humans may vary, and this is something a responsible owner must recognize when allowing other people to interact with their pet. It is not a fox’s fault if it feels threatened by a stranger and bites – however, it is the fox who will suffer the consequences.