The BC SPCA is highlighting the dangers of “DIY pest control” after someone apparently tried to electrocute a raccoon on Vancouver’s West Side.
Earlier this week, a concerned member of the public called its Animal Helpline to report finding a young raccoon trapped inside a home-made electrified cage trap in the Arbutus Ridge. After hearing the young raccoon crying throughout the night, the concerned caller found the animal trapped in a “modified cat trap” on a nearby property.
The trap was connected to an extension cord, which the BC SPCA says caused an electric current to run through the all-metal cage. The caller unplugged the trap and set the raccoon free, before calling the hotline to report what happened.
Trapping raccoons is legal in BC, with restrictions, however, using electrocution as a trapping method is not.
“The incident also highlights the dangers of DIY pest control,” the BC SPCA said in a statement.
The animal welfare agency is very concerned about what could have happened if pets — or a child — got caught up in the electrified trap.
“The trap was set in the open, where it could have easily captured a cat or other animal, and the home-made electric modifications could easily fail, or harm an unsuspecting child or other person,” it says.
The agency is encouraging homeowners to consult its best practices for raccoons if they encounter one on their property.
It is also reminding people to remove attractants, like food, from their yards, and discouraging them from taking matters into their own hands by trying to trap and relocate wildlife.
“It is not a permanent or humane solution. Animals often injure themselves and may die trying to escape a trap, and you also risk separating a mother from her babies,” the BC SPCA says.
“Relocated animals have to set up a new home, and may starve trying to find food or get into fights with other animals over territory.”
To report an animal in distress, including wildlife, call the toll free BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1 (855) 6BC SPCA (1-855-622-7722).