The RSPCA has issued a warning about the dangers sports nets pose to animals after amputating the tail of a fox trapped in a practice goal.
The fox’s back legs had become stuck in the netting of the broken goal in a back garden in Hove, Sussex, and the struggle to free itself had only tangled the netting further.
Claire Goddard, an RSPCA animal collection officer, said: “This little fox was lucky, he could easily have suffered fatal injuries or, if not spotted, died a slow and painful death tangled in the net.
“That’s why it’s so important that netting isn’t left unattended. Sport nets like football goals are often set up and left unattended in gardens and parks with many people not realising they can be death traps for wildlife. ”
Although the fox was eventually freed, the end of its tail had to be amputated, drawing comparisons with Fantastic Mr Fox from the classic Roald Dahl story.
The RSPCA recommended all nets used for sports should be stored safely and any other netting in gardens could be replaced with a solid metal mesh to stop animals becoming trapped.
“It is an extremely frightening experience for any animal but particularly for wildlife as they are so wary of human contact,” Ms Goddard added.