The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth (HSKWSP) is reminding residents of their options to deter wildlife from their property following the "increasingly disturbing trend" of inhumane traps being discovered by animal services officers in the region.
According to the animal welfare group, three traps have been found in Kitchener in the last three weeks - including two black plastic "rat snap" traps. Animal services officers report that first trap captured a skunk, with officers locating the animal deceased nearby after it sustained serious injuries clawing its way free.
The second trap is said to have also trapped a skunk, resulting in the animal trying to flee under a nearby fence. That animal sustained "significant injury" and had to be humanely euthanized.
The third trap discovered by officers was a "Conibear" style metal trap set up to catch a squirrel. Animal services officers said that animal was released before their arrival, though it "almost certainly" sustained severe injuries.
HSKWSP noted that most municipalities restrict the types of traps that can be used through their by-laws - while possession and use of "body-gripping" traps are thoroughly regulated for use among qualified and licensed individuals. The Humane Society has established a wildlife resource guide to help local residents understand how they can deter wildlife from their property, while also offering information on how to co-exist with animals.
"There are so many ways to deter wildlife from our yards that does not involve seriously harming or killing wildlife," said Janice Maxwell, manager of animal services for HSKWSP. "Call a humane wildlife control company, patch up holes in your roof or put mesh screens over your range hood vents, remove anything that is attracting them or use a humane method to make the environment not favourable - make lots of noise, remove food sources. They will eventually move on."
Residents that are concerned about sick or injured wildlife are encouraged to contact the Humane Society for assistance - while those with concerns about animal welfare can contact the Province of Ontario's Animal Welfare services team. If there are concerns of illegal trapping, residents may also contact the Ministry of Natural Resources.
"As our cities continue to grow, we are co-existing with wildlife." said Maxwell. "There are more than enough ways to co-exist peacefully without causing harm."