A raccoon died after it was caught in a live trap for over a week and then placed in a garbage can filled with water to drown slowly.
Staff at Critter Care Wildlife Society – which provides care and rehabilitation to species of mammals native to B.C. – are said to be shaken after dealing with the "extremely inhumane" case of animal cruelty.
Animal care supervisor Brooklynn Martin said officials were called to a property in Burnaby on Friday, about an hour after the young adult was found by a tenant in the nearly lifeless garbage can.
Martin said he believed the landlord had set the trap for about a week and a half and that the tenant had assumed that the raccoon had been released.
"It turns out the raccoon was left in the trap and he put it in a trash can and filled it with water and left the trap there," she said.
"As soon as the tenant found out what happened, he called us immediately and was very nervous asking what we could do before we got there."
The tenant took the raccoon out of the trap, dried it, and placed hot water bottles around her to keep her warm until the team arrived.
"I was an adult adult raccoon and I was so weak and mentally lost that the tenant and my staff were dealing with him without gloves," Martin said.
Martin told Courier that it was by far one of the worst cases of animal cruelty she had encountered in the three years she worked in wildlife society.
"This raccoon was trapped in a trap without food and basically being forced to submerge without being able to get out," she said.
"She came in and her nose was all scratched, all her nails on her paws had been ripped off, her paws were raw, she was trying so hard to get out and basically no hair was left on her tail.
"Every case of cruelty is bad and you deal with the situation and it makes you sad, but this, in my opinion, is probably the worst I've had to deal with."
She said it was common for people to put live traps for troublesome creatures and it was not illegal if done humanely.
"If you do not want them on your property you have a 10-mile radius around your house where you can trap them and then you can relocate the animal elsewhere," explained Martin.
"But legally you're not allowed to set a trap and leave what's there for over 24 hours and that poor raccoon got stuck for more than a week.
"We deal with many cases of cruelty, especially leg traps, and they mutilate the animal and cause pain.
"But physically torturing the animal and trying to drown it – it got us all downtown, all the staff were very upset about it.
"The way this trap was used was extremely cruel and extremely inhumane."
The wildlife society posted on the incident on its Facebook page stating that "cruelty has no place in modern day!" The post so far has received more than 1000 tanned support and has been shared more than 300 times.
The team did their best to save the beast but unfortunately it passed away Friday night.
Martin said the case was reported to authorities, including the BC SPCA cruelty line and the Furbish Animal Association.
In a separate incident, the SPCA BC issued a warning to people about the dangers of DIY pest control after it received a call from a member of the public in the Arbutus Ridge area of Vancouver that found a raccoon trapped inside a house electrified cage trap.
In a statement, the BC SPCA said the caller heard the young raccoon crying during the night and found the raccoon trapped in a modified cat trap in an adjacent property.
"The trap was connected to an extension, apparently causing an electric current to go through the metal trap. The interlocutor immediately disconnected the trap and released the raccoon, and then called the BC SPCA Animal Support Line. "
It is illegal to use electrocution on raccoons.
Instead of harmful and ineffective DIY methods, BC SPCA encourages members of the public to remove attractive raccoons and try light human harassment to discourage raccoons, and consult your best practices for raccoons.
If a raccoon enters a house or shed, call a Company AnimalKind which uses exclusion techniques instead of trapping, relocation or death.
BC SPCA does not recommend capturing and relocating wild animals.