Tame Foxes Available in the U.S… the newest style of puppymill?

SibFox Tame Fox Distributor

I would love to have a tame fox (to show people for once and for all that a Shiba does not look like a little fox!).  BUT… if this was a kennel for a purebred breed or the latest crossbred wonder dog, would you go near it with a ten-foot-pole?

Image from National Geographic

Image from National Geographic

DANGER SIGNS…

  • “Official distributor” – The only official distributors that I deal with are the purveyors of outdoor clothing and dog equipment; not living, breathing animals sold as pets.
  • The price tag.  $5,950?  Are you serious?  I could get a Schutzhund III titled German Shepherd from Germany for that price.  Then again, they claim that importing from Russia is a significant part of the cost of this animal.
  • The caring instructions are haphazard and don’t go through anywhere near the amount of information that I would require for a dog, never mind a fox.
    • There is no mention of socialization requirements
    • There is no mention of training strategy
    • There is no mention of the downsides of owning a fox. – EVERY pet animal has downsides.
    • There is no mention of screening for proper ownership (to be fair, many reputable breeders who DO screen potential owners don’t make this explicit on their websites)
  • The FAQ mentions that they are “working towards making the farm available to visitors”.  Why isn’t it available now?
  • They specifically mention that they don’t have references from happy fox owners who can be contacted directly.  They do mention that they could contact fox owners who may respond via phone or email – but it’s funny that they already know in advance that none of their fox purchasers want to be contacted by someone looking for more information?
  • There is no mention of any genetic issues that the foxes may be experiencing as a result of massive breeding for the one purpose of producing domestic behaviour.
  • There is no contract or mention of a contract that stipulates certain care and humane treatment from the owner or a promise from SibFox that they will take a fox back if its owner can’t keep it, even after a period of years (the 30 day return policy doesn’t count) CORRECTION: There IS a contract which I completely missed.  And, actually, it reads like a decent one: it gives SibFox first right of refusal and stipulates that the owner must give proper care to the fox ~ Thanks, Dillen, for pointing that out!
  • There is no mention of pedigrees.  I believe any animal deliberately bred should have a pedigree to track its genetic history and to help avoid breeding unhealthy genetic lines.

Whether a purebred or a crossbreed/mongrel that someone is trying to standardize into a breed, dogs should be bred with care for their genetic potential, their quality of life and the ability of the breeder to either care for them adequately or find them responsible owners.  I don’t think foxes should be exempt from this.  If they are being bred as pets, they should be bred with thought for their futures.  While SibFox isn’t breeding these foxes, who is?

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The Misanthropic Shiba

25 Comments

  1. From what I know about these people, they are not located in the US. They are located in Russia, and are actually using the sales of these domesticated foxes as a last ditch effort to help fund their research into the domestication of the Siberian Fox project that all but crumpled with the USSR. There is a lot of research that has gone into this project from breeding intentionally tame to intentionally aggressive foxes (nature and nurture experiments) and they are REALLY hurting for money. That said, I’m not sure I would ever recommend this type of animal for a pet (same goes for “tame” skunks, oppossums, raccoons etc.) but they aren’t just some losers who caught a few foxes in their backyards.

  2. one more point and i will shut up. just went to their website and now want to vomit. did anyone notice the foxes are on wire- horrible! their info is ridiculous foxes act nothing like dogs and their urine smells like skunks ALWAYS. i emailed and asked if they are licensed. lets see if i actually get a response

  3. and we have black, fawn and red foxes running around wild here just like we have white, black and grey squirrels

  4. i wonder if they have usda licensing and proper import permits. also the laws on owning wild/exotic animals vary state to state. for example in PA you need an usda permit and PA game permit and in order to obtain the PA game permit you have to apprentice with a current fox owner for two years

  5. I wonder how much they even know about inherited and genetic health problems? The info on the coloration is interesting though. Still, I think I'll keep my wild foxes wild.

  6. @Krystal Apparently the colours come with the domestication, somewhat similar to the "black wolf" colouration being traced back to domestic dogs. Somewhere on the way to domestication, it seems that coloration suited to the local environment gets interfered with.As for the pedigrees, I'd like to see them on the site. If they're going to be selling foxes like domestic dogs, I want to see more information on the breeding program.My main problem with the domestic foxes, though, is that while they are asking for feedback for health problems, I can't find any mention of screening for health problems.

  7. You send them $5950 and wait up to 3 months for your fox from Russia? Maybe they'll accept money from my inheritance in Nigeria…

  8. Did you see the claws on that one fox? I wonder if that’s a normal length for a fox, or a failure to trim?

    I also wonder how you find a vet who treats foxes? I live in a suburb of a big US city, so there is probably a vet in the area who does. Somehow I have this mental picture of taking a fox to my regular vet…think I’ll stick with dogs. I understand a little bit about how their minds work.

  9. one more point and i will shut up. just went to their website and now want to vomit. did anyone notice the foxes are on wire- horrible! their info is ridiculous foxes act nothing like dogs and their urine smells like skunks ALWAYS. i emailed and asked if they are licensed. lets see if i actually get a re

  10. and we have black, fawn and red foxes running around wild here just like we have white, black and grey squ

  11. i wonder if they have usda licensing and proper import permits. also the laws on owning wild/exotic animals vary state to state. for example in PA you need an usda permit and PA game permit and in order to obtain the PA game permit you have to apprentice with a current fox owner for two

  12. I wonder how much they even know about inherited and genetic health problems? The info on the coloration is interesting though. Still, I think I'll keep my wild foxes

  13. @Krystal Apparently the colours come with the domestication, somewhat similar to the "black wolf" colouration being traced back to domestic dogs. Somewhere on the way to domestication, it seems that coloration suited to the local environment gets interfered with.As for the pedigrees, I'd like to see them on the site. If they're going to be selling foxes like domestic dogs, I want to see more information on the breeding program.My main problem with the domestic foxes, though, is that while they are asking for feedback for health problems, I can't find any mention of screening for health pro

  14. You send them $5950 and wait up to 3 months for your fox from Russia? Maybe they'll accept money from my inheritance in Nige

  15. Yeah, I agree.

    I was at first appalled reading their FAQ about why they couldn’t send baby foxes (the caging comments). But then I read the fine print of the purchase contract, and felt a LOT better.

    http://www.sibfox.com/foxes/contract/

    They do specify that the buyer, if wishing to sell, transfer, or get rid of the fox, MUST give SibaFox first right of refusal/buy back. They also specify that a certain level of care must be taken (including top quality food, excercise, and health care), or they have every right to take the fox back without penalty or paying the buyer a cent.

    There are also clauses about forbidding breeding and agression training, which is encouraging.

    I agree the the marketing of living being as product is disgusting, but above points of four, five, and seven are covered.

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