SPCA calls for ban on metal leg-hold raccoon traps

Over the past month, at least two raccoons have been caught in barbaric metal leg-hold traps on Vancouver Island. The B.C. SPCA is calling for a ban on these traps that leave their victims with horrific, fatal injuries.

According to the SPCA, one raccoon was discovered Aug. 28 in Cadboro Bay and the other on Sept 8. In Cordova Bay.

The animals were found alive, but as often is the case with leg-hold traps, with terrible injuries. Sara Dubois, manager of wildlife services for B.C. SPCA, told Metro. “They had suffered horrific injuries. We’re talking a bone sticking out of one of the animal’s legs because it had tried to chew its own leg off.”

Based on the animals’ condition when they were found, the SPCA says it looked as if the animals had been trapped for days.

In both cases, the raccoons had to be euthanized upon discovery.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is now trying to figure out how the traps ended up on the Island, in areas where Dubois says a child or a dog could have found them. It’s not yet known if the traps were placed illegally to target raccoons.

These kinds of leg-hold traps are not illegal in British Columbia (or Canada), but wildlife laws stipulate that they must be checked every 24 hours. Just this past summer, a family’s dog was killed in a trap placed to catch a beaver in Creston, B.C.

Dubois and the SPCA are calling for a widespread ban on the traps, or at the very least, a law requiring trappers to put identification on their equipment. They also want trappers to post signs near their traps to warn the public.

“Whether they’re legal or not, they’re inhumane,” Dubois says, “and the trapper was negligent because they didn’t retrieve the traps.”