On February 20th, 2014, a domesticated fox named Vader was taken from his home after an anonymous person reported being bitten by him. Without investigating the claim, officers seized Vader without a warrant. The officer who grabbed him was not trained to handle animals and despite numerous warnings from both Vader’s owners and the animal control officer he was with, grabbed him by the neck and was bitten. The officer was wearing protective gloves and claims he was bitten through them, but there remains to be any proof that this was true.
On February 21st, 2014, Vader was euthanized in order to test his brain for rabies, even though proof of vaccination was given to the police department by his owners. Vader lived in a house with other vaccinated pets, hadn’t left the property since he was four months old, was never left outside unattended, and had never been bitten by any animal (let alone a rabid one). There was no chance that Vader had rabies. There is even still speculation as to whether he actually bit through the gloves the officer was wearing and broke the skin.
Vader’s owners were not notified that he was being euthanized. Tara was in contact with the North Dakota Board of Animal Health, Department of Health and the local police department. All three assured her that since they had no evidence that Vader had bitten anyone, he would only be held for a few days to make sure he didn’t show any signs for contagious diseases. A few hours later, police officers showed up to her house with his collar. They claim they have no information on the person who filed the anonymous report. [source]
It is illegal to enter someone’s property and seize an animal without a warrant. It is illegal to deny Tara her rights to face her accuser. The police department released a statement on the events that took place claiming that Vader was being kept illegally. This is not true. Vader was allowed into the state and came with a certification of health. Foxes are not illegal in her city, only in a specific zone that she lives on the very edge of. The mayor of her city gave her special permission to keep him as long as he stayed on their property at all times, which they complied with. Vader was also a ranch fox, which are “classified as a category 1 non-traditional livestock by North Dakota and are considered ‘generally domestic’ - the same as common pet ferrets and chinchillas.” [source]
Please take the time to sign this petition and email and call these numbers below. When talking to these people, please be polite as they are most likely not directly involved with this particular case, but be firm. Make sure to mention all of the key points that are bolded above in this post. Ask them for a copy of the police report and the evidence that allowed the officers to seize and euthanize Vader. Above all, don’t stop until they have committed to conducting a thorough investigation. Demand justice for Vader. Don’t let this happen to anyone else’s pet ever again.
(701) 220 5194
(701) 220 0092
(701) 202 6251
The North Dakota Department of Health: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minot Police Department: email@example.com
Here is an example email you can use.