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Chapter II: Researcher’s Intentions

This study investigated attitudes toward dogs compared to domesticated foxes as pets and ownership of these animals, analyzing how the manipulation of canine physical attributes by domestication can affect participant perceptions. The purpose of this study was to improve our understanding of attitudes about domesticating wild foxes and selling them as pets.

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I: Foxes as Pets

Because the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novisibirsk, Russia has begun selling and commercializing its domesticated foxes as pets (Trut 1999), controversy has arisen. The legislature is unsure of how to define these animals, whether wild, exotic, or domesticated, as illustrated by the city of Farmington in Anya’s case, and some people are still suspicious as to whether or not these animals are truly domesticated and should be welcomed into our homes.

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I: Virginia Police Confiscate Swiper the Ranched Fox

Thankfully, not all pet foxes meet with a grim fate. When fox owners understand the laws regarding the ownership of foxes as pets and provide for their animals correctly, foxes can be successfully kept as pets, such as with Alayna Sitterson and her pet fox, Swiper.

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I: Ohio City Exterminates Valo the Ranched Fox

On September 7th, 2014, Chloe Kristensen found her silver-colored fox, Valo, missing from his outdoor enclosure (Crowe 2014). In order to make her community aware of the missing animal, she contacted the Fairborn Police Department, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and the local news station. “I immediately contacted everyone because I know how big of a deal this is. Because a fox is not a dog. People will hurt him,” she told WDTN Channel 2 News (Moore 2014a).
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I: North Dakota Police Exterminate Vader the Ranched Fox

In December of 2012, Eric and Tara Hiatt (2013 August) contacted Tiny Tracks Exotic Animals LLC, a USDA-licensed breeding company, Certificate No: 32-B-0211, located in Auburn, Indiana (USDA 2015) about purchasing a ranch-raised pet fox. During the weekend of May 4th-May 5th, 2013, Tara Hiatt (2013 August) drove 1,500 miles, one-way, to purchase her new pet, a silver-colored morph of the red fox. Because of her husband’s love of Star Wars and the fox’s dark-colored coat, they decided on the name “Vader” and started the blog, May the Fox be With You at maythefoxbewithyou.tumblr.com. On her blog, Hiatt posted photographs of her exotic pet and answered questions about pet-fox ownership. Unfortunately, her blog may have resulted in the death of her pet.

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