An animal conservationist has warned people against keeping raccoon dogs as pets after finding two locked up in an abandoned Dartford flat.
Wayne May, of Eysnford-based charity Artisan Rare Breeds, found the creatures in East Hill after the landlord got in touch to say his tenants had left them behind.
Raccoon dogs are about the size of a fox and look similar to a raccoon. They can be found in woods in central Europe and Asia.
Mr May, 43, explained they should not be kept as pets in any circumstances.
He said: "People do keep them as domestic pets, why on earth they do that I have no idea?
"As they get older they can get quite aggressive and they give out a pungent odour."
He added: "Raccoon dogs have glands similar to those of a skunk so if they feel threatened or scared they spray it everywhere.
"The flat absolutely reeked of it, God knows what the neighbours thought."
The dogs found by Mr May are now being held in a specially built aviary at Artisan Rare Breeds HQ.
He explained their image as cuddly pets is inappropriate and people should see them as wild animals.
He said: "They've got no fear of humans. Even though they're not related to raccoons they've got that same lack of fear.
“Unfortunately a lot of people are selling them on the pet market these days as cuddly little dogs, which they are as babies, but it’s a different kettle of fish as they get older.”
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