A Service Fox? Oh come off it!
I am sure you have seen the "service" fox photos and video doing the Facebook rounds today.
I'm not going to mince my words here so I apologise in advance for the rant I am about to go on.
The owner of that poor fox who was paraded around a busy convention in the USA, who lied to convention organisers by assuring them it is a dog hybrid and a service animal has been astronomically irresponsible.
They've not only taken the poor thing out of its comfort zone, they've put it and possibly other people at risk.
The fox is visibly stressed in the video which is upsetting in itself. Does the owner not see it's distress?
A fox cannot be task-trained to the same level of a well bred service dog and is therefore not a suitable candidate for assistance work. Foxes generalise even less efficiently than dogs do so one would find it nigh on impossible to proof the desired responses to cues outside of the foxes known surroundings.
I suppose you could argue that it was a Emotional Support Animal but that doesn't grant it the same rights of entry as a true assistance animal.
I'd also question how an animal can be expected to provide emotional support for its owner when it is clearly in a state of stress itself...
Stressed animals can lash out in fear and this stunt could have so easily gone completely wrong. Sure, a fox, even a stressed one is very unlikely to cause any lasting damage, a bite is still a bite and all it would have takes was a nip to a finger for the authorities to have got involved. America has various rules that are often state dependant. Many states could insist the destruction of the animal following a bite due to rabies risks even if the fox is vaccinated. Obviously foxes can be rabies vaccinated, but my understanding is that this wouldn't be taken into account and the fox can be seized and destroyed.
Incidents like this bring the keeping of foxes into the limelight and showcase it in the most unbelievably negative of ways.
Incidents like this show a complete lack of respect for the animal (and the law!) and portray fox keepers as nothing more than show offs who keep unusual animals just because it's 'cool'
Thankfully, most fox keepers care enough for their animals to keep them out of danger.
It's situations like these that drive the need for us to be a self policing passion that considered the animals welfare above all else.