Warning of danger football nets can pose to animals

The RSPCA is warning of the dangers of netting to wildlife and is bracing itself to deal with hundreds of entanglement incidents this summer as fans get inspired by Euro 2020.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 3:32 pm
A curious fox stuck in a net

As footie-mad sports fans put up football nets in the back gardens and sports fields of England and Wales, the RSPCA has already received more reports about dangerously entangled foxes and other wild animals than this time last year.

With the RSPCA taking 1,139 calls about animals entangled in sports, garden and deterrence netting already this year, numbers have already overtaken 2020’s 1,127 calls for the same period.

In just three weeks in June this year, the animal charity had already received at least 30 netting entanglement reports, 20 of which related to foxes or fox cubs and the remainder being other species such as hedgehogs, deer, rabbits and birds such as gulls and crows.

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RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said: “Football and other types of netting may be fun for humans but can be very dangerous for wild animals if they are left out overnight. The RSPCA receives hundreds of calls every year to rescue animal, often wildlife, who have become tangled in netting on sporting equipment or garden nets.

“Already this year, the number of call-outs to rescue animals caught up in nets are up on 2020 and in the past couple of months, we have had a spate of young foxes in particular becoming entangled. We suspect that people’s enthusiasm for Euro 2020 may have inspired increased numbers of amateur football nets to be put up in gardens and sports fields around the country and young, curious foxes are unaware of the dangers.

“Getting tangled up in netting is very stressful for an animal, particularly one that’s wild. If the animal gets seriously entangled in netting, whether it’s used for sports or fencing, can cause severe injuries or death.”

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