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Rabies risk as illegally imported animals found in pet shop

Three illegally imported opossums are feared to be on the loose in the UK, sparking rabies fears.

The cat-sized marsupials are suspected to have gone missing after being smuggled, reports the Plymouth Herald.

The council previously found some of the animals during a raid on a pet shop in the midlands.

They were illegally imported and then sold on the internet.

On Sunday, a council’s animal health team raided a property in Lostwithiel, Cornwall on the hunt for the missing animals.

The wild animals had no importation papers and no rabies vaccinations, meaning they could potentially be infectious.

Jane Tomlinson, Cornwall trading standards manager, told Plymouth Herald: “Smuggled or illegally imported mammals have a very high risk of being infected with rabies. This is often a fatal disease in humans and is always fatal to animals. Once again I urge everyone not to buy animals over the internet, and ensure you see the parents of any young animals before purchase.

“If animals are taken from the wild there is also a risk to the future conservation of species.”

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