The ultimate pet shop deception: passing off an Andean fox as a husky dog!

NEWS AND COMMENT - LIMA, PERU: A naïve Peruvian family thought they were buying a husky dog from a pet shop in the capital Lima. They paid 52 Peruvian soles which is £9.50 in British money and $12.92 in American money. By Western standards that is dirt cheap, ridiculously cheap, as purebred dogs in Britain during the pandemic cost £3,000 albeit the prices were inflated because of market pressures.

Run Run an Andean fox bought as a purebred husky escaped to the wild after killing other pets
'Run Run' an Andean fox bought as a purebred husky escaped to the wild after killing other pets. Screenshot.

Anyway, they went home with their purebred 'husky' otherwise known as an Andean fox! And the fox started to chase after other animals including chickens and guinea pigs. In other words he was behaving like a fox. They named the "husky" Run Run. He became increasingly aggressive towards people including his owners. He was, after all, a wild animal. It looks almost certain that they adopted him as a puppy which is the reason why he was pliable and reasonably accepting when they bought him from the pet shop.

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A woman told Reuters, the news agency, that the "husky" ate three of her guinea pigs. And a local grandmother said that it had killed guinea pigs.

It appears that Run Run returned to the wild as in the video he seen outside. He was caught by wildlife officials. What happened to him? I can see bad things happening.

Clearly, the Andean fox looks a bit like a purebred dog with a bushy tail, prominent ears, appointed head and thin legs. Apparently, it is not that uncommon for wildlife traffickers from Amazonian areas to bring wild animals into Lima where they are sold illegally according to the National Forest and Wildlife Service.

Cruelly, the criminals kill the parents and they trade the juveniles. In 2021 the wildlife service had been involved with 128 cases in which they confiscated wild animals in Lima.

It's a crime to trade in wild animals like this and on conviction the punishment is between three and five years in prison.

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Further comment

it seems a bit of a stretch for a customer to mistake Andean fox for a purebred husky dog. And they must have realised quite quickly that something was badly wrong. They were living with unsocialised wild animal when they thought they had bought a fully domesticated companion dog.

The pet store owner must have known that this was not a purebred husky. The big question then is whether the law is enforced and the shopkeeper prosecuted. As usual, I'm going to say with complete confidence that nothing has or will happen. 

The next question is what happened to the Andean fox? I hope the animal was returned to the wild if that was feasible and I also hope that the family who bought the "husky" get their money back plus damages because there was some damage namely eating guinea pigs. Although they appear not to have belonged to the owners. But they may well have suffered some consequential damage which they can claim for.

Wildlife trade

Wildlife trade worldwide is a scandal. It is worth billions of dollars and it is making species extinct. "According to the best available sources the illegal Wildlife Trade is valued at approx US$7 – 23 billion a year, and is regularly described as the 4th most lucrative crime after any of drugs, counterfeit goods, humans and arms" (the financial crime news).

It is a stain on humankind and indicative of a terrible relationship with nature as is the failure at COP26. For animal lovers humankind's behaviour is depressing. There are though millions of great people who fight for animal welfare but they are in a minority.

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