Southampton charity says animals left in 'pain' as vets bills rise

The owner of a Southampton fox sanctuary says animals are suffering as crippling vets prices reach a record high.

Steve Mason, 65, has run an independent fox sanctuary in North Baddesley for the last eight years.

His sanctuary is supported by the Foxangels Foundation – a national charity aimed at rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing foxes across the UK.

He says that foxes and other animals are suffering needlessly as big vet companies are charging high prices.

Steve said: “The only procedure the vets will give a wild animal free of charge is a lethal injection to put them down.

“I have turned to using my own money to help get these foxes the veterinary treatment they desperately need.

“Many vets used to be sympathetic to our cause, but this has now changed.

“We used to get a 20 per cent discount for treatment to wildlife but now a lot of the independent vet practices have been bought out by big veterinary organisations.

“These organisations do not offer any form of discount at all – and their prices are higher.”

Steve said that one of his rescued foxes had cataracts in both eyes - with a vet saying it would cost £5,000 to restore the animal's sight.

He opted not to get the treatment for the fox due to the cost.

Steve also said that he had spent over £1,300 on a fox to have similar treatment that died shortly afterwards.

He said that this money could have been better spent to help more foxes but it was instead given to the vets.

The fox carer added: “We are a charity and only have a limited amount of funds which we raise ourselves and also rely on monetary donations from kind members of the public - £5,000 for an operation such as this would be nearly impossible for us to raise, particularly as we also need these funds to treat our other rescue foxes.

“The vets always tell me they have overhead costs and staff to pay, and I understand that, but these foxes are needlessly in pain.

“The bottom line is that animals are suffering, whilst someone makes money – that is wrong.”

Post-pandemic, 60 per cent of UK households have a family pet - and many are feeling the high price of medicine and treatment at the vets.