No excuse for cruelty in wildlife interactions

Humane alternatives exist to address nuisance animals

No doubt it is frustrating for some residents to wake up to garbage strewn about their driveway by local raccoons, or to find their lawn dug up by the creatures as they hunt for a snack.

It’s a similar story to local drivers, gardeners and others frustrated by voracious deer.

But frustration that leads individuals to take matters into their own hands, using methods that lead to unnecessary animal injury and maiming is unacceptable.

Just what’s causing raccoons in the Haultain and Kings Road area to lose front paws is unknown at this time, but some residents are worried someone in the area is using a trap that may be causing injury.

Back in May, when the issue first came to the attention of local residents and authorities, Oak Bay police Deputy Chief Kent Thom noted that the possibility of leg traps – whose use has not yet been verified – “gives us a lot of concern because pets and young children run the risk of being hurt and injured with these traps.”

Other possibilities for the raccoon  injuries include a kania trap, a lethal squirrel trap that can cause damage to larger animals when not properly used, suggested Conservation Officer Peter Pauwels.

Homeowners have a right to protect their properties from nuisance animals – hopefully after first taking basic steps to prevent unwarranted intrusion, like securing their garbage – but not in a way that causes undue pain and suffering.

Live traps exist, as do companies that will use them effectively and safely, Pauwels noted, echoing Thom that “if these things are not used properly it isn’t just raccoons that could get caught, it could be other animals as well.”

Common sense, and a little humanity can go a long way.