Animal welfare officers have issued a warning to pet owners after a canine native to Asia was found hiding under a water tank – in Lincolnshire.
The RSPCA is now looking after the raccoon dog – also known as a tanuki – which was found in Kirton Holme, near Boston.
It was discovered after a woman was alerted by barking from her dogs.
Inspector Becky Harper went to the scene to catch the raccoon dog. She said: “When I arrived, the caller had managed to confine him in an outbuilding by barricading the doorway which thankfully made it much easier for me to catch him.
“He was huddled under a car and was clearly very nervous. Thankfully, he hadn’t suffered any injuries and was in fairly good condition. He wasn’t totally wild and seemed to be used to having people nearby but didn’t want to be touched or stroked."
The raccoon dog – nicknamed Cedric by RSPCA staff – was taken to a nearby vets for an assessment before being transferred to the charity’s specialist wildlife centre in Cheshire.
Insp Harper issued a warning to prospective owners saying: “While he is very cute, we’d like to stress that raccoon dogs don’t make good pets. They are wild animals and, while they sadly seem to be becoming more popular as pets in the UK, we would strongly discourage people from buying or keeping one as a pet.
“They need a great deal of space and their needs cannot be met in a typical domestic environment If they escape or are released into the wild they are a high invasive non-native species risk to our native wildlife.”