White Rock’s mayor says he would back enacting a ban on leg-hold traps in his city.
“Besides being a cruel form of entrapment, the likelihood of a domestic animal or even a child getting caught by one is just too great,” Baldwin told Peace Arch News by email Monday. “In my opinion, their use is totally unacceptable.”
The issue arose last month, after a resident reported that a mother raccoon had twice been seriously mangled by leg-hold traps, and others responded with similar sightings.
The news prompted the Vancouver-based Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the person responsible; as well, APFA launched an online petition calling on the City of White Rock to implement a ban on leg-hold traps.
The equipment is legal in B.C., regulated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations. According to information online, rules include that they cannot be placed within 200 metres of a private home; that trappers must possess a licence or permit; and that, when used on public land, the traps must be checked at least once every 72 hours.
It is illegal to trap raccoons with leg-hold traps.
The petition for White Rock to crack down on their use has attracted both local and worldwide interest. As of this week, it bears more than 8,000 names, including from as far away as Spain, Germany and South Africa.
APFA spokesman Adrian Nelson said it’s hoped the support will be enough to convince White Rock officials to take action.
“We’re hoping as soon as we can get in front of council, we’ll present it,” Nelson said Thursday. “Show that there’s enough support locally and around the world for this.”
Baldwin said he expects a staff report on the issue “in due course.” Council’s next regular meeting is set for Monday (April 13).
Nelson said the White Rock man who reported the raccoon called Thursday to say the animal is no longer trapped.
“It sounds like she is eating and doing well, but with two legs at this point,” Nelson said, noting APFA is working with Langley-based Critter Care Wildlife Society to locate the raccoon.
Nelson described response to the petition as “pretty average”
“Something like this unfortunately touches people quite tragically. It’s unfortunate that it takes something like this to get that reaction.”
Baldwin said he could not comment on Nelson’s assertion that no one from his city has responded to APFA’s communications to date.
Meanwhile, the city’s director of planning said traps are not believed to be behind discoveries of dead waterfowl on White Rock streets.
Karen Cooper told PAN the city’s animal-control services picked up two dead ducks near Maccaud Park in late March and a dead Canada goose on Fir Street last Thursday.
The staffer “wasn’t sure if the duck had been hit by a car or was just weak and died, but there didn’t seem to be any trap or damage that he saw,” Cooper said.