Outfoxing the the law in the Dordogne

In 2010 a fox cub was found next to a road in the Dordogne by local man Didier Delanes. The cub's mother was lying dead next to it. Mr Delanes decided to do what many animal lovers would have done under the circumstances and simply took the cub home. It became part of the family, along with Mr Delanes, his partner and their two children. The cub, by now known as Zouzou lived in an enclosure in the garden. Then the authorities became aware of the family's new pet and legal measures were taken against them for 'keeping a non-domestic animal without authority'.

A court in Bergerac ruled against Didier Delanes, fined him €300 and sent the gendarmes around to confiscate Zouzou. The gendarmes arrived to find no fox. That was July 2011 and the family swears they haven't seen him since. At a court of appeal hearing in Bordeaux this week, it emerged that Zouzou was 'disappeared' by the 13-year-old daughter and 'members of the Zouzou support committee' (which genuinely exists) minutes before the gendarmes arrived. Zouzou has since been looked after by another family they trust. At the appeal hearing the prosecution asked for the whereabouts of the fox so that he could be confiscated.

Mr Delanes's lawyer successfully achieved a stay of execution on any ruling in order to give the family the chance of taking the required administrative steps to formally and legally 'adopt' Zouzou as a bona fide pet. The outcome is that the confiscation order is now in abeyance until 13 November. The Delanes family say they are missing him, and Mr Delanes himself said that he is prepared to take the case to the European courts if necessary.

In the meantime Zouzou is being well looked after and is safe. For some of us it is a both heartwarming and sometimes hilarious item of early morning news on France Bleu Perigord.

I’d forgotten the Tooting link.

Yay, all back to revolutionary Tooting! Save the mothers, meet on Wandsworth Common.

It’s possible, but is matricide the way forward for the red foxes Citizen Smith?

Nick, do you reckon there is a link between neo-communism and foxes, red and all that, and the centralised state? They're afraid of foxes taking over!

I don’t understand the link between not having its mother and freedom. Surely the fox was born free wasn’t it?

Is that true? I didn't know that more than half of the adults in France work for the government. However, "work" is questionable, customer service and/or initiative does not exist so you may well be correct., unfortunately.

It never had freedom did it. It's mother died before s/he learnt the way of the wild. It has has love and care though. Think about it.

Reliable informants (that I am trying my hardest to invent as I go along) say that the Zouzou support committee has gone to earth (got it - boom, boom) with their foxy friend.

I will dispute the three square meals bit Nick, I assume he is fed in a dog or cat bowl, therefore they are more likely to be rounds meals and as for the bed, I imagine it depends on whether it is a cheap and nasty one from Conforama or a nice firm one from a classy store in central Bordeaux...

Does the fox miss its freedom? Or do you think it is happier with its 3 square meals a day and a comfy bed?