VERONA (KDKA) — Three silver foxes have a new home.

“This is our new fox enclosure. This is going to be the permanent home for our three male silver foxes that the game commission confiscated and brought to the wildlife center last spring.”

Jill Argall, director of the Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center in Verona, says the foxes were purchased as pets last year in Ohio and transported to Pennsylvania where such ownership is illegal.

“One of them had very severe mange,” she says. “They were both very emaciated. A few days later, the third one came in, too, in the same general condition.”

It took months of medical attention and diet to nurse them back to health. The new enclosure offers a little taste of the wild.

“They are semi-domesticated,” Argall says. “So they’re not fit to be in the wild. They don’t know how to fend for themselves. They don’t know how to find food. They retain a lot of their wild instincts, but they’re not a wild animal. So we knew going into it, we’d have to find a permanent place for them.”

The silver foxes will serve as educational ambassadors, she says, “to let people know they don’t make good pets. These aren’t appropriate in your house. But we can use these foxes to teach kids about wild foxes, and how to protect wild foxes.”

Staff and volunteers at the wildlife center try not to get attached to animals that will soon be released. But in this case, the director admits, “Because we knew they were permanent residents, we did allow ourselves a little more leeway, to go a little bit more involved with them. And we did get attached. It’s hard not to.”

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