Pet store owner rescues stray ‘dog’ … that turns out to be silver fox

  • He says they ‘realised something wasn’t right from its big tail and pointy face’
  • They kept the animal in the shop for four days, feeding it dog food, before the local forestry bureau took it away
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2018, 4:22pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2018, 4:29pm

A pet store owner in northwest China got an unwelcome surprise when the stray “dog” he tried to rescue turned out to be a silver fox, a Chinese news website reports.

The man, surnamed Liu, was told by a customer there was a white dog wandering outside his shop last week in Xian, Shaanxi province, Thepaper.cn reported on Wednesday.

Fearing that it might be dangerous to the public, Liu and his staff tried to capture the animal.

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“It was snowing on Thursday, so a customer let us know there was this small dog by the shop door,” Liu told the news website.

“But when we went to rescue it, we realised something wasn’t right from its big tail and pointy face – we then discovered it was a fox,” he said.

“We didn’t know what to do so we kept it [in the store] for four days.”

Video footage shows the animal being kept in a cage with a bowl of dog food.

Officials from the local forestry bureau confirmed that the animal was a silver fox and took it away on Monday.

Chinese cities put dogs on tight leash after spate of attacks

The silver fox is the same species as the common red fox but its distinctive colouring is due to different amounts of melatonin, which affects pigmentation. They were historically bred for their fur.

Stories of people getting injured and mauled by stray dogs have made headlines in China more often in recent years. Stray dogs are often seen in rural and urban areas, and are commonly viewed as a nuisance and threat to public safety.