SCOTLAND’S animal welfare charity has urged people not to treat wild animals on their own, warning they could literally be killing them with kindness.

The Scottish SPCA said it had received multiple reports of Scots taking home foxes, deer, hedgehogs and birds.

In many cases, the animals died or had to be put to sleep.

One fawn discovered by the charity’s inspectors in a Scottish home was suffering seizures caused by stress after it was taken home wrapped in dog blankets.

A fox kept in a shed for three months could not be returned to the wild because it didn’t receive the professional help it needed on time.

Other well-intentioned Scots have also tried to tape up birds’ injured wings and given them

human painkillers.

Mike Flynn, the Scottish SPCA’s chief superintendent insisted most people mean no harm to animals, but warned they could end up killing one of the creatures.

He said: “By no means do we think people do this maliciously or with intent to harm these animals but, unfortunately, by trying to care for them they are doing more harm than good.

“People need to remember that these are wild animals and any interaction with humans is incredibly stressful for them.

“Fawns and deer in particular suffer from extreme stress and can pass away from shock.

“Often people will feed the animals the incorrect diet and this will lead to intestinal problems and can lead to the animal passing away.

“We have experienced many incidents of birds being taken home by members of the public.

“Some people have tried to tape up wings resulting in a maggot infestation, others have tried to feed birds paracetamol.

“Sadly, in many of these circumstances, the animal needs to be put to sleep as its injuries have not been correctly treated from the outset.

“A hedgehog was brought to us with serious injuries to its face after being caught by a garden strimmer.

“The person kept it for two or three weeks and tried to give it antibiotics prescribed from the vet. Sadly, when it arrived into our care it had to be put to sleep.

“Through good intentions people are causing these animals unnecessary suffering and, unfortunately, in many cases death.

“Wild animals do not have the centuries of domestication that companion animals do.

“Instinctively, wild animals see humans as a threat and any interaction will cause them a great deal of distress.

“We would ask that the public do not try to take matters into their own hands.

“In the first instance, people should check our website for advice and if they’d still like to

speak to someone, call our animal helpline for information.”

The Scottish SPCA revealed how one incident in Glasgow involved someone taking a fawn home and keeping it overnight.

The person called the charity’s animal helpline but did not heed the advice to return the fawn to where they found it. The doe would most likely have been foraging or searching for a safe resting site.

The young deer was fed cow’s milk which could cause gut upset that can result in more serious, life-threatening issues.

One fawn was taken home and wrapped up in dog blankets. When the society’s animal rescue officer arrived it was having seizures due to the amount of stress it was caused.

In other instances, people have been taking home cubs and adult foxes and attempting to rear them.

One person kept a young fox in a shed for three months until it was too much to cope with and then contacted the Scottish SPCA helpline, at which point it was unsafe for the fox to be released back into the wild.

The society launched its #WildlifeWise campaign in April to educate the public on when they

should and should not contact them about wildlife.

Mr Flynn added: “Our animal rescue officers and team at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre are experts in treating and rehabilitating wild animals.

“We would urge everyone to leave the care of wild creatures to us to give them the best possible chance of recovery.”