Pet fox barred from pub after brush with Beverley punters
FROM children's books to pubs, there has always been a close relationship between a fox and a hound.
But for one pub landlord in East Yorkshire that relationship has jumped from the pages of fiction and into his living room.
For two years, Phil Walker and his daughter Georgina have seen the same furry punter in their pub each day.
Tod the fox has become part of the furniture at The Eager Beaver, in Beverley, but now time has been called on his days roaming the bar.
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Phil, who has been landlord at the pub for four years, had to bar Tod after a complaint by another regular customer.
He said: "It is a shame to restrict Tod but he still has his chance to roam around when the pub closes.
"He had become a bit of an attraction. He has been no problem and most customers really like him but I can understand why some customers will have some concerns.
"After all, he is a wild animal, even if he is extremely tame."
Tod has been allowed the run of the pub since Phil, 56, and Georgina, 20, took him in when he was just a cub, but now he has been confined to the living quarters upstairs.
"Tod came to us with his sister from a friend of ours but unfortunately, unlike his sister, we couldn't release him back into the wild because he had a problem with his leg," Phil said.
"When we first took him in, he was quite shy but he soon got used to the place.
"We have hand-reared him like a pet since he was just a week old, so he is part of the family now."
"Some people miss having him around the pub but I think he is quite happy upstairs and he gets chance to come down and have an explore once all the customers have gone on a night."
Although two-year-old Tod has become part of the furniture at The Eager Beaver, he is not the only furry resident at the pub in Highfield Road.
Phil and Georgina's care and affection is split between the fox and their four-year-old Jack Russell Eva.
Ever since Tod's arrival Eva has shared everything with him.
"We have never kept Eva and Tod apart, so they are very comfortable around each other," Phil said.
"We take them for walks together, feed them together and they even sleep on the same bed occasionally.
"Tod often sleeps on my bed, watches TV and then gives me a nip on my ear to wake me up in the morning.
"Because we did everything, such as training him to use a litter tray from a young age, he is just like having any other pet around the place."
Tod's injury to his leg means he needs special treatment.
His diet includes dog food, cat biscuits, cod liver oil tablets and glucosamine supplements to help with his joints and aid his recovery.
Adaptations have had to be made to the pub to make it fox-proof.
Phil said: "Foxes are quite destructive, so we have had to make sure some things are out of reach.
"He seems attracted to anything that makes a sound and he tends to chew them, including telephone points.
"I wouldn't recommend them as a pet but I wouldn't give him up now."
Since his arrival in Beverley, Tod has become the talk of the town.
Georgina, who works in the pub, said he gets a lot of attention from people in the street.
"A lot of my friends think he's amazing but some people are a little surprised to see him on a lead and walking along like a dog," she said.
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