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2 raccoons die from injuries in Mission traps, 1 survives

Conservation Officer Service investigating alleged unlawful trapping of raccoons in Mission

WARNING: This story contains graphic details and images

Three raccoons suffered severe injuries at a Mission property filled with traps, according to a Facebook post from Langley’s Critter Care Wildlife Society on Jan. 4.

The Critter Care team was called to a Mission home with an escort from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) on Nov. 27 for a raccoon in a leg-hold trap.

A neighbour witnessed the raccoon trapped for over a day while it pulled, screamed, and chewed at its own hand to free itself, Critter Care says. The attempt caused further injury.

Critter Care says the scene was distressing upon arrival and the homeowner was unreachable.

The team freed the raccoon and discovered 10 leg-hold traps bolted to the house’s deck and the ground surrounding it. While unsetting the traps, Critter Care found two more raccoons ensnared.

“We don’t like to see animals in pain and obviously this person’s aim was to hurt animals and that’s what we have to stop,” Critter Care senior wildlife supervisor Jenna Kuncewicz said.

It remains unclear how long the raccoons were in the traps. Each raccoon was male but they varied in age.

“[This] tells us they were most likely solitary and not trapped simultaneously, which makes this story all the more infuriating. We have no way of telling how many fellow animals were subjected to unnecessary suffering due to this property, its owners, and its torturous set-up,” the Facebook post reads.

Two of the three trapped raccoons died from their injuries. Critter Care says their forepaws were badly lacerated, swollen and infected after being in the traps for so long.

One raccoon was missing the flesh of his fingers altogether and was only being held in the trap by the remaining bone.

Wildlife technicians with Critter Care sedated the raccoons and cleaned the wounds. X-rays revealed no breaks, but severe swelling. The raccoons were placed on antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and a strict wound-cleaning regimen.

Critter Care staff opted for humane euthanasia for two raccoons after severe sepsis and necrosis set in.

One raccoon survived the infection and injuries. His right forepaw is riddled with scars but he can use his hand properly.

“He’s doing really well. He’s eating [and] he’s off all of his medications now. So [we’re] pretty much just waiting for the weather to clear up and then he will be able to be released, which is awesome that we were able to save at least one because his injuries were pretty bad,” Kuncewicz said.

Critter Care manages numerous cases involving leg-hold traps every year. The society says they pose a risk for pets, children and any animal in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Leg-hold traps are cruel and unjustified. They are built to increase grip as an animal struggles. Although they are marketed as ‘humane’ they are not, in any sense of the word,” the Critter Care post reads.

The COS is investigating the alleged unlawful trapping of a raccoon in Mission.

“As this matter is under investigation, we are unable to provide further information at this time,” the COS said in a statement.

The COS says there are trapping options available for landowners for raccoons causing property damage, pending municipal or other regulations.

“Managing attractants, never feeding wildlife and preventing access to homes and outbuildings can help prevent problems with raccoons. While responding to raccoon conflicts is outside the mandate of the COS, people are encouraged to contact pest control companies or registered trappers for ongoing raccoon issues.”

The FurBearers executive director Lesley Fox says raccoons are intelligent, social animals who are native to Mission and the Lower Mainland.

“The Fur-Bearers remind residents that leg-hold and other body-gripping traps are inherently inhumane devices that cause significant harm to any animal who should trigger them, including non-targeted wildlife and pets,” Fox said in a news release. “Residents concerned about the availability of these devices and the weak regulations surrounding them should contact their MLA.”

RELATED: Conservation officers put down coyote in response to Mission attacks

Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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