This past Saturday morning (April 22) we visited Canatara Park. On a trail just behind the Animal Farm we saw a woman with a cat carrier releasing a sickly-looking raccoon. When she noticed us, the woman hurried down the trail toward the parking lot with her empty carrier.
The raccoon remained at the spot where she released it and it was exhibiting symptoms of distemper or some other sickness. We were sad to see an animal in such a state of distress.
We made a few phone calls and eventually reached the Sarnia police service who dispatched an expert to retrieve the animal.
We feel the person who released it was very irresponsible as the animal was clearly in poor condition and suffering, and posed a health risk to other animals and the public. She released it on a well-travelled trail right behind the animal farm.
Evidently, she didn’t consider that the raccoon could easily have come into contact with people, especially children, and could spread the virus to other animals both wild and domesticated.
These trails are busy with people walking their dogs, and the raccoon was right along the edge of the trail. Likely she also failed to consider potential health risks to herself (this could have been rabies) and her own pets as the distemper virus is highly contagious and potentially fatal to dogs.
It’s hard to imagine a worse place to relocate a sick wild animal than one of the busiest public places in the city of Sarnia.
The good news is that the expert from Outfoxed did arrive and removed the raccoon. He informed us that moving a wild animal is not only irresponsible but illegal as well.
We hope this letter will serve to educate the public that dealing with wild animals, especially sick ones, should be left to professionals, and that relocating a wild animal from your yard to a public park is not acceptable.
Mark and Roberta Buchanan,