AN angry couple have condemned the RSPCA for putting down a fox.
Paul and Lesley Turton, of Meltham, found the injured fox in Paddock and were able to catch it in a coat.
But when an RSCPA officer arrived, she injected the animal with a lethal dose – without telling the couple what she was doing.
“It was so callous,” said Mrs Turton, who was out with her family.
“We expected her to at least take it to a vet to be properly examined, as we think it had been hit by a car.
“When the inspector arrived we offered to put the animal into a cage in the back of her van to help. My husband did what he could.
“She said she would get her equipment, but came back with a needle. I thought she was going to sedate the fox, but she asked us to hold it and it was only then I realised she had put it to sleep.
“I and my family were very upset by this, especially having waited two hours in the cold with the injured animal. We were disgusted with the way it was handled”.
An RSPCA spokesman said: “After receiving a call about the injured fox an RSPCA inspector attended as soon as she was able to.
“On examining the fox she found it to be gravely ill. Its leg bone was protruding from its skin and it was suffering from a severe case of mange. It was also subdued and clearly very weak.
“The inspector made the difficult decision to put the fox to sleep to end its suffering as quickly as possible as it was clearly in a great degree of pain and discomfort.
“Noise and human proximity cause fear in wild animals and any prolonged treatment would have caused severe stress to the fox.
“Also, where a wild animal is suffering from a condition such as mange which would require extensive and lengthy treatment, there is the risk the fox would ultimately become tame and less fearful of human contact. This could later threaten its survival in the wild and put the fox at risk.”