Raccoons are adorable trash pandas to many animal lovers, but not everyone sees the masked critters that way – especially when they’re being drawn to a location in high volume due to feeding. Fortunately, there are tools available to resolve this conflict amicably and humanely, and a Dartmouth-area councillor is proposing such a solution to his Halifax Regional Municipality colleagues.
MetroHalifax reported that Councillor Sam Austin is bringing forward a motion to create a feeding amendment in the region’s existing animal by-law.
"One homeowner is feeding raccoons and other neighbourhood critters and drawing a whole sizeable lot of them and they’re causing damage to neighbouring properties,” Austin told Metro. “When the fellow with the raccoon situation complained to the city and bylaw went out and looked at it, there is actually nothing they can do because there is actually no rule about feeding rats, raccoons, or whatever animal that you shouldn’t be feeding.”
There doesn’t appear to be any animosity toward the wildlife in the area, who are reacting in a predictable fashion to a change in their environment (much the same way teenage boys react to a pizza being deposited in a room). It seems that Austin is unsure of how is fellow councillors will respond to his proposal, though.
“I have no idea what kind of conversation this will engender, but I’ll explain to council why I’m making the motion. Basically that I have residents throwing pork chops to raccoons, and we’ll go from there,” he told Metro. “I’m expecting I might get a little bit of reaction along the lines of ‘Is this something that council really needs to look at?’ But it is one of these things that really does have an impact on you once your neighbour is doing it and then it suddenly is rather important to you.”
The Fur-Bearers are happy to see this motion going forward, and are pleased to offer assistance to Councillor Austin and the Halifax Regional Municipality in developing by-laws, programs, or other educational information that helps residents co-exist with wildlife.