For immediate release:

A photo of the fox is available at

Let Katie go

IFAW and OCWC demand fox be given back to her Ottawa caregiver  

(Ottawa - May 14, 2003) - The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) must give the year-old fox they tamed back to her Ottawa caregivers if she is to have any chance to return to the wild, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre (OCWC) demanded today.  

A casualty of last summer's dramatic OCWC raid, Katie was an orphaned baby fox being cared for by a long-time volunteer of the centre. Just weeks before her release into the wild, the MNR took Katie, along with other healthy animals, and kept them throughout the winter in cages in a research facility.  The animals were taken when MNR, without justification and without notice, declared Ottawa a high-risk zone for rabies.  All animals at OCWC had been vaccinated for rabies.  

The wildlife centre was forced to close its doors because of the MNR's new one-kilometre restriction on the release of all wildlife and their policies regarding the rehabilitation of wildlife in a rabies high-risk zone.  It has not gone unnoticed that MNR ignored their own rules and released the animals much further away than one kilometre.  

"The MNR has abruptly pulled the plug on what was once a progressive and responsible wildlife rehabilitation system," IFAW Emergency Relief Representative Kim Elmslie said.  "Clearly, the ministry has a limited understanding of the principles of wildlife rehabilitation and does not care to seek advice from those who do."  

The surviving raccoons and skunks of the wildlife centre were recently released into a rabies "hot zone" - an area where animals are being exterminated because of the prevalence of rabies.  After nine months of irresponsible rehabilitation, MNR representatives say Katie is too tame to be released and they are considering sending her to a zoo.  

"We are confident this young fox can be successfully reintroduced to the wild by returning her to the experienced volunteer from whom she was taken," OCWC President Donna Dubreuil said.  "The MNR must give Katie the chance they took away from her rather than condemning her to an unnatural and frustrating life in captivity." Contacts:              IFAW: Katy Heath-Eves   Office: (613) 241-8996 ext. 225   Cell: (613) 220-5994                         OCWC: Donna DuBreuil   (613) 282-3755  

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW -- works to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress. IFAW seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people. This transmission is intended only for use by the addressee(s) named herein and may contain information that is proprietary, confidential and/or legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the information contained herein (including any reliance thereon) is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. If you received this transmission in error, please immediately contact the sender and destroy the material in its entirety, whether in electronic or hard copy format. Thank you.