A Burnaby animal rights group is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set an illegal leg-hold trap that led to the death of a Surrey raccoon.
"You just don't want these things in your backyard," said Lesley Fox from the Fur-Bearer Defenders. "It's very common for pets, particularly dogs, to get caught in traps."
On Aug. 21, a Surrey family found a male raccoon with his front paw caught in a leg-hold trap. The animal was found in the 9700 block of 155th Street in Surrey.
Fox said it's not known where the trap was set or for how long the raccoon had been travelling with the contraption attached. The Critter Care Wildlife Society took in the raccoon, which had to be put down because the injuries were so grave.
Fox said someone could be charged for violating B.C.'s Wildlife Act. Some leg-hold traps are legal in Canada, but ones with metal teeth, like the one that caught the raccoon, are banned, according to Fox.
The Fur-Bearer Defenders have documented 15 cases across B.C. where household pets were caught in various types of traps, including leg-holds. In 2005, a Burnaby cat named Angus was caught in a leg-hold trap set on private property by a neighbour. The cat suffered severe injuries, and the vet bill was $1,000.
The Fur-Bearer Defenders are calling on the City of Surrey to ban leg-hold, Conibear and snare traps and would like Burnaby to prohibit the devices as well. (Conibear traps are designed to snap necks for a quick death.)
City councillor Dan Johnston was surprised people were still using the devices and was open to the idea of looking into a ban.
"I would be willing to discuss with our environment committee, whether or not we need to pass a resolution in the city," he said. "I can see the public concern in some respect. There does seem to be more coyotes and raccoons in urban areas."
Anyone with information in the Surrey raccoon case can call the Fur-Bearer Defenders at 604-435-1850.
To see the list of pets caught in various traps over the years, go to Jennifer Moreau's blog, Community Conversations, at www.burnabynow.com.