North Saanich neighbours want raccoon crackdown

Residents in North Saanich are concerned about a growing raccoon population they say is due to a neighbour feeding the animals, and are appealing to the district for a bylaw that would prohibit the act.

According to residents, there is one household on Braemar Avenue that has been feeding dog food to raccoons for years. As a result, the number of animals in the area has grown quickly, they say.

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The District of North Saanich has received three letters from residents asking for the development of a bylaw to prohibit the feeding of raccoons. The letters appear as correspondence on the agenda for the district’s council meeting on Monday.

Tom Greene lives about a block away from the house in question, and has begun to notice the increase in raccoons in the past few years. Greene and his wife, Adrienne Greene, wrote a letter to North Saanich council in support of a bylaw.

Greene said the exploding raccoon population poses a health hazard due to the animals’ excrement. He also said his fruit trees and berry gardens are being “ravaged” by the animals, and his neighbours’ gardens have been damaged.

The issue came to a head when new neighbours moved into the house next door to where the feeding allegedly takes place about a year ago, according to Greene. The neighbours have counted as many as 33 raccoons in the backyard at once, he said.

North Saanich’s current animal control bylaw, which is enforced by the Capital Regional District, prohibits the feeding of deer and wild rabbits, but doesn’t mention raccoons.

Several municipalities in the region do prohibit the feeding of raccoons, including Central Saanich, Sidney and Victoria. The district council would need to vote to amend the bylaw in order to prohibit residents from feeding raccoons.

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