Dear Urban Diplomat: Is it okay to kill an invading raccoon?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Is it okay to kill an invading raccoon?

I’ve tried everything else

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A big fat raccoon decided to make a home for itself in my attic and it’s wreaking serious havoc. I’ve tried chasing it out by blasting loud music, banging on the ceiling and taking other desperate measures, but the furry bugger always comes back. I’m seriously considering raccoon homicide. Is there a better way to get rid of it?
Murder, She Wrote, Scarborough

If the pile-on that former National Post columnist Tristin Hopper received this year after tweeting about killing a raccoon is any indication, even those of us who’ve been terrorized by trash pandas don’t support their cold-blooded murder. Living in a big city means sharing space, even with our animal enemies. It’s worth remembering that we’ve built an ecosystem that forces raccoons to be crafty scavengers, and we fill it up with 900,000 tonnes of delicious garbage every year. To send it packing, try hanging ammonia-soaked rags in your attic or installing a strobe light. If that doesn’t work, keep in mind that killing the raccoon is against the law: you’re risking animal cruelty charges, fines of up to $5,000 and the eternal wrath of PETA.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
When my husband and I got married, we received a card from a guest (a friend of our parents) that included a picture of a set of crystal glasses, which were supposed to be our wedding gift from him. The card mentioned that the glasses would arrive in the near future. It’s been more than a year since our wedding and the glasses are a no-show. We can totally live without them, but we’d feel badly if they failed to arrive because of a shipping error, or if the guest thinks we received the glassware and never sent a thank-you note. Any suggestions?
—Missing Clink, Riverdale

Start by asking your parents how forgetful this particular friend is. If he’s known for having a spotty memory, chances are he failed to order the gift in the first place. If the guy’s eidetic, however, it’s worth risking his embarrassment to make sure a courier service isn’t to blame. Just tell your parents’ friend that you’ve yet to receive the gift but suspect it’s a shipping error. That way, if he did screw up, he can quickly place the order and still save face.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
I own a condo in Liberty Village. The building is well maintained, and we have a good board of directors, but they wait too long to turn on the heat. The temperature usually drops below 15 degrees before they power up the central heating. Every year, I send a letter to the board outlining the provincial guidelines (minimum 21 degrees after early September), but they never respond. What’s the best way to handle this?
—Cold War, Liberty Village

You’re generous to sing the praises of your directors. If anyone forced me to stay indoors at below 15 degrees, I’d be shaking with cold and rage. Thankfully, as you pointed out, you’re legally entitled to a warm living space. File a complaint with Municipal Licensing and Standards by dialling 311 or visiting their office in East York. Holding your board’s feet to the proverbial fire should convince them to crank up the heat.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live on a small cul-de-sac in Mississauga. One of my neighbours has three cars, a truck, a jet ski and a work van. He turned his garage into a workshop, so he parks all his extra vehicles wherever he can nab a spot. As a result, our street looks like a used-car lot. The city has warned him, but he doesn’t seem to care. He said that it’s legal as long as he moves the vehicles every day. All the neighbours agree that his behaviour is rude and inconsiderate. What do we do?
—Parking Mad, Mississauga

In fact, it’s not legal for your neighbour to use the street like his own personal lot, no matter how many times he shuffles his menagerie of machines. Vehicles can stay parked on Mississauga streets for a maximum of five hours, unless otherwise posted. Overnight parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. is verboten. So keep making complaints to parking enforcement. The city may have let him off with a warning in the past, but they’ll start ticketing him­­—between $20 and $35 per vehicle­­—if you keep it up.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neighbour heard about my divorce this summer and started hitting on me pretty intensely. He pretends to be joking, but I’m really not into his increased attention or sly comments about my outfits—especially because he’s married. I would try to avoid him, but he literally lives next door. Should I tell his wife what he’s been up to?
—Neighbour Pains, Little Italy

Before talking to his wife, try talking to him. He’s clearly making you uncomfortable, so tell him directly that his attempts at flirting aren’t appreciated. Yes, it’s awkward, but it’s important to set boundaries and show respect for yourself. If he still refuses to back off, then consider playing the wife card. Chances are he won’t call your bluff. If he does, be prepared to follow through.


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