Raccoons targeted with ‘barbaric’ leg-hold traps

Two raccoons have been killed by metal leg-hold traps over the last month, and Kari Marks of the SPCA’s Wild ARC facility would like the practice to stop.

One dead raccoon was discovered Aug. 28 in Cadboro Bay while the other was found Sept. 8 in Cordova Bay.

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Such incidents are uncommon, Marks said, “but it does occur and it’s just alarming having two within such a short time of each other.”

The traps are both very old and involve two pieces of metal that clamp shut.

“They’re pretty barbaric,” said Marks of the traps.

Seeing a wild animal die this way “is absolutely sickening,” she said.

“In both cases, these animals were in these traps for some time and one had tried to chew his leg off,” Marks said.

“He got to the bone and couldn’t go any further. The other one, his leg was very broken and he couldn’t get away.

“It’s heart-wrenching.”

By the condition of the animals, the traps had been attached for days or even weeks.

“The pain and suffering would have been intense,” Marks said.

There had been sightings of the injured raccoons prior to their deaths, she said.

It’s difficult to know where the traps were placed because both raccoons travelled some distance, dragging the traps.

Raccoons are curious, smart animals that can become pests when they eat household garbage or pet food, says the SPCA’s website.

If you want to encourage raccoons to move along, eliminate all food sources. Secure garbage bins, pick up fruit fallen from trees, clean up bird seed from beneath feeders and keep pet food indoors.

If you locate a den, leave a flashlight or work light inside the cavern or play a radio nearby.

Place ammonia-soaked rags in a plastic container, tape the lid shut and punch enough holes so the smell permeates. These containers will dissuade a raccoon from coming close.

Trapping is inhumane, ineffective and in violation of wildlife laws, the SPCA says.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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