raccoon trap

Neighbourhood rescues mother raccoon that animal removers left roasting in the sun

A raccoon left in a trap in scorching heat on a Toronto rooftop was saved thanks to some kind neighbours, but many are questioning how this act of animal cruelty happened in the first place.

A mother raccoon was spotted trapped in a metal cage set on a downtown Toronto rooftop in 30 C weather, with no shelter from the blazing sun, according to an Instagram post on Thursday from Toronto Wildlife Centre.

"She was exposed for at least 4 hours, long enough to become very dehydrated, with the metal bars heating up underneath her paws," Toronto Wildlife Centre wrote. "We all know how hot asphalt or sand on a beach gets in the summer sun … imagine how scalding hot the bars of a metal cage can become?⁠"

Fortunately, a passerby saw the distressed raccoon and posted a video to the Facebook group Wild PALZ on June 6 asking for help. A Toronto Wildlife Centre staff member, Glenda, saw the video and call for help.

"But it was with the help of the community that the unsecured cage, with the tormented mother inside it, was taken out of the scorching heat," the Centre wrote.

⁠Glenda rushed the raccoon to the Centre where staff worked to cool her down. She was dehydrated and staff gave her Pedialyte. They noticed the raccoon was lactating, which meant her babies were somewhere back at the property – and they needed their mother to survive.

Unfortunately, the Centre could not find the babies and the wildlife removal company would not help.

"The company isn't cooperating, however, and it's unclear what the fate of the raccoon's babies has been."

On their Facebook post, people expressed anger and sadness. Some questioned how the wildlife control company, which the Toronto Wildlife Centre decided not to name, could be authorized to work.

Some suggested the laws are too lax.

"Anyone can claim they're a wildlife control professional," one person posted. "There are no government tests or training requirements. There should at least be a code of ethics."

The business is being investigated, but there are no charges yet.

Toronto Wildlife Centre has seen many similar incidents in the past.

"Tragically, we see too many orphaned wild babies as a result of these unregulated, unlicensed (there is no licensing body) companies that capture and take away parents either for relocation (a death sentence) or euthanasia, or use techniques in their work that otherwise cause suffering or injury."

There are humane ways to get wild animals to move away from your home. Toronto Wildlife Centre has several suggestions on their website. There are also suggestions for humane wildlife control companies.

A concerned resident who contacted blogTO about the raccoon rescue had an idea about how to fund a system to prevent future cruelty.

"My suggestion … is that profits from any Toronto raccoon souvenir be invested in hiring officers who educate the public about these wonderful animals, and, perhaps more importantly, monitor against any harm or abuse that may befall them," she said.

Lead photo by

Toronto Wildlife Centre

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