Is it illegal to kill a raccoon?—Taryn Swift, Moore Park
Speciesism is alive and well (or should we say running rampant) in Toronto, because while smaller, and arguably cuter, furry fauna like mice are considered fair game for catching and killing, larger mammals, like raccoons, are protected. For most Ontarians, it’s against the law to even own a body-gripping trap that can catch anything bigger than a rat, but the reason has nothing to do with a love of the dreaded garbage looters. It’s actually a nod to public safety. Any device big enough to off a raccoon could also snare the neighbour’s cat (or a small child). The same logic forbids the use of poison or firearms against raccoons. In other words, if you’re hell-bent on fashioning a homemade Davy Crockett coonskin cap, you may end up wearing it on the receiving end of a $5,000 fine. If you can prove a raccoon is destroying your property, you can live trap the creature and have a vet do your dirty work. There’s just one catch. Because of the many diseases they carry, wild animals are banned from veterinary clinics in Toronto. Good luck finding a vet who makes lethal house calls.