Rescuers' dilemma after fox is found with a badly-broken leg

Bexhill and Hastings Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary faced a dilemma last week when it was called to help Peggy, a fox with a suspected broken leg.

Peggy SUS-180603-110809001
Peggy SUS-180603-110809001

Peggy was born in March 2016 and while her brothers and sisters grew up and left the garden where they were born, Peggy did not. She suffered from mange, which was successfully treated by the owner of the garden, and she subsequently became very tame. This year Peggy suffered an injury to her leg, which slowly healed but then worsened. The owner of the garden contacted the rescue and Peggy was taken to a vet.

A spokesman for the sanctuary said: “The vet said she could see no reason why the fox should be put down. The issue was that Peggy’s leg would not heal with a splint or a cast, the leg was totally broken at the shin. Inserting a metal plate was one option, ending Peggy’s life was the other, and this is where the dilemma started.”

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Owner Chris Tucker took to Facebook to ask the rescue followers how they felt. There was an overwhelming majority in support of giving Peggy a chance. Enough money to fund the operation was raised in 24 hours and the appeal for a suitable sanctuary for her to live was met with numerous suggestions and offers. The decision was made to go ahead with the operation, which took place on Wednesday, February 28.

Unfortunately Peggy’s leg could not be saved because there was a deep infection in the bone, and so her leg was amputated at the shoulder.

Peggy has made a remarkable recovery – just three days after the operation, she was running around. The offers of homes are now being investigated in order to choose the best home possible for her.

A spokesman from the rescue added: “Amid the massive support there has also been criticism. Animal disability is an emotive issue and wildlife disability perhaps even more so. At the rescue we are firm in our belief that all life is sacred.

“Peggy will not be released into the wild because it would be cruel to expect her to fend for herself, but neither will she be treated like a domestic animal. Peggy’s home will be one of safety, where she can be monitored for life for any negative effects following the amputation. It will be as close to a natural habitat as possible and it will enable her disability.

“We often have to make difficult decisions for the best interest of the wildlife in our care but Peggy was lucky, her situation meant she could be given a chance and we are proud that, together with our supporters, we have been able to give her that chance.”