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Raccoon assaults depart East Vancouver neighbourhood on edge

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Residents concern extra assaults, need motion on emboldened raccoons

Cali sits on a table in the backyard with owner Joyce Gee as they both recover from an unprovoked raccoon attack a block away from their East Vancouver home. Cali sits on a desk within the yard with proprietor Joyce Gee as they each get well from an unprovoked raccoon assault a block away from their East Vancouver house. Picture by RICHARD LAM /PNG

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The assault, which might not finish till Joyce Gee was bloodied and knocked to the bottom, started on a sunny, sizzling night in East Vancouver, with a number of distracted yaps from her tiny Chihuahua, Cali.

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A raccoon shot out of the bushes. The animal had razor-sharp enamel, however Gee wasn’t excited about that but. At first, it was confusion, panic. The raccoon charged, hissing, snarling, fierce. It snatched Cali and bit. The pup yowled. Gee’s different canines, Mac and Rika, yanked at their leashes. Gee tried to restrain them.

Instinctively, Gee kicked on the raccoon. Now it was a brawl. The raccoon got here at Gee, clamped her ankle. Tooth ripped by pores and skin, muscle. Leg, elbow, hand, finger.

Blood splashed the sidewalk.

She misplaced her grip on the canines, and tilted backward. Her physique struck the concrete.

“It was like a nightmare,” stated Gee. “It saved coming, it wouldn’t cease.”

Cali (right) and Rika with Joyce Gee in Vancouver on June 27, 2022. Cali (proper) and Rika with Joyce Gee in Vancouver on June 27, 2022. Picture by RICHARD LAM /PNG

Rika bolted. A form stranger plucked the miniature poodle out of visitors on Victoria Drive.

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Gee hobbled house, bleeding profusely. “It appeared like my finger was bitten clear by.”

For Venables Avenue residents, it has been a season of terror. Simply months in the past, two raccoons tried to tug away a Mexican hairless. The canine had its tail amputated.

Gee obtained 4 stitches in her hand, and Cali is recovering from puncture wounds.

“Proper now, the scenario with the raccoons is uncontrolled,” stated Gee’s subsequent door neighbour, Zsuzsi Gartner.

Gartner’s personal canine can’t exit within the yard. “It’s scary.”

Calls to the town have been unproductive. “They haven’t any raccoon coverage,” stated Gartner.

The Metropolis of Vancouver confirmed it has no insurance policies particularly relating to raccoons, however anybody feeding wildlife, together with birds of any sort (besides hummingbirds), coyotes and raccoons, in Vancouver is topic to a $500 superb.

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Puncture marks on Joyce Gee’s legs continue to heal after an unprovoked raccoon attack left her and her dog with wounds. Puncture marks on Joyce Gee’s legs proceed to heal after an unprovoked raccoon assault left her and her canine with wounds. Picture by RICHARD LAM /PNG

B.C. ministry of the atmosphere conservation officers confirmed to Postmedia they’d a report of the Victoria Drive incident, however didn’t reply “because of higher-priority public security calls.”

Raccoons are a Schedule-B “pest species,” below the B.C. Wildlife Act. They are often legally hunted in areas the place firearm discharge is permitted, however in different areas, together with Metro Vancouver, they will not be killed or captured with no allow.

Andrea Wallace, supervisor for wild animal welfare for the BCSPCA stated that like all wild animals, raccoons might be harmful. She recommends “modifying human behaviour so we are able to co-exist.”

Raccoons usually don’t method people, however are emboldened once they grow to be habituated. “When folks assume they’re cute and actively feed them, they’re encouraging raccoons to come back round. We don’t need that, we would like them to be afraid of us,” stated Wallace.

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Even fowl feeders can appeal to raccoons. Wallace recommends making yards, sheds and automotive ports uncomfortable for raccoons: tidy up litter, shine vivid lights, maintain a chat radio station on.

Hannah Griebling, a UBC researcher stated raccoons are extremely smart. “Their brains have a excessive focus of glial cells in a ratio equal to primates, so they’re tenacious, and keen to work together with new issues.”

“It’s virtually like an arms race between us and the raccoons. We’re creating extra clever creatures as we create extra complicated techniques of barring them,” stated Griebling.

Randy Celinski of AAA Wildlife Control inspects possible points of entry for pests. Randy Celinski of AAA Wildlife Management inspects potential factors of entry for pests. Picture by Francis Georgian /PNG

Randy Celinski, proprietor of AAA Wildlife Management, stated Vancouver’s raccoons are “profiting from free meals and housing.” His method is to “evict them” from buildings. Trapping and relocating is now not accepted due to the hazard of spreading illness, stated Celinski. “It doesn’t repair the issue.”

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Celinski stated February by August is “package season”, and mom raccoons might be aggressive in the event that they assume their infants are in peril. “Give them their distance if you end up strolling canines, remember if they’re denning in your property, and don’t depart meals out.”

The excellent news is that Celinski has by no means heard of anybody being killed by a raccoon. Sadly, though Celinski can evict raccoons from attics, a raccoon hiding in a shrub is past his management.

The thought that there could be extra raccoons lurking in bushes, able to assault at any second, has Venables Avenue neighbours on edge.

“I admire how mums shield their kits, however when they’re savagely attacking folks, extra must be completed,” stated Gartner.

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