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  1. ITV Report

90 exotic pets rescued by the RSPCA in Cumbria

New figures have revealed the number of tropical animals living in households has doubled in the last year in Cumbria.

Two racoon dogs were amongst the 90 exotic pets and 10 exotic fish rescued by the RSPCA in the county, in 2018.

Two racoon dogs found in Kendal Credit: RSPCA
15,790
calls about abandoned, sick, suffering and neglected exotic reptiles, mammals, birds and fish.

Officers were called to Burneside twice, in February 2018, when two raccoon dogs were spotted.

The first was found hiding under a van after collapsing, it was breathing heavily. The second raccoon dog was found behind a bike in the garden of a house less than half a mile away.

Racoon dog Credit: RSPCA
  • What is a racoon dog?

The species, otherwise known as a tanukis, are native to east Asia and are a member of the canidae family - which includes dogs, foxes and coyotes etc.

With their raccoon-like faces and long brindled fur they can be mistaken for dogs, but they are wild animals and not suitable as pets. There is a growing trade in the UK.

The animals found in Kendal were rescued by officers and later placed in specialist centre after their owner could not be traced.

These animals are commonly found for sale in pet shops and are advertised online. At least in the past, animals have often been handed over to buyers with little or no information about how to care for them properly, although new regulations in England should improve this. In some cases, we believe owners take them on simply because they believe they will be easier to care for than other pets, but it is essential that people research what is required in the care of their pet, from food, equipment, environment and vet care, before taking one on. We would also urge them to ask for help if they’re struggling to meet their needs."

– Exotics officer for the area, and national exotics officer co-ordinator, Inspector Kim Greaves