Toronto's Dealing With A Dead Raccoon Problem & It's Linked To A 'Distemper Outbreak'

The trash panda is in trouble. 🦝

Toronto Associate Editor
Raccoon on a roof in Toronto. Right: Raccoon art on a bridge in Toronto.

Raccoon on a roof in Toronto. Right: Raccoon art on a bridge in Toronto.

Toronto has a dead raccoon problem, and the city is "taking additional steps" to address the issue.

On Thursday, the city of Toronto said in a press release that they are "taking immediate action to address the number of service requests related to raccoon distemper and wildlife cadaver pick-up across Toronto."

They said that starting immediately, Toronto Animal Services have been asked to assign more people to assist with "the backlog and decrease response times."

Additionally, Toronto will increase staff to help with the "pick-up of cadavers."

"This multi-divisional effort will help with the unprecedented level of cadaver service requests which has now reached more than 900 requests city-wide," they added.

Paula Fletcher, a city councillor for Ward 14 in Toronto, tweeted saying she's written to the City Manager to speed things up.

"We're seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of calls about dead wildlife," Fletcher tweeted.

According to a letter sent on November 3, there was an increase in 311 calls related to "Wildlife —Injured & Wildlide-Cadaver." In August, they received 54 requests, 3,223 in September and 3,769 in October.

Apparently, there were over 900 service requests in Ward 14 in September and October.

"The majority being raccoons either suffering from or dead from distemper," Fletcher added.

Fletcher also stated that she spoke to someone who made a request with Animal Services and was told that a carcass would be picked up within 48 hours. However, three weeks later, no one came and "the carcass is now rotting inside a garbage bin and reeking," she said.

The city said they have seen a significant increase in requests related to "sick and injured wildlife and cadaver removal."

They added that the influx is due to a "raccoon distemper outbreak, typically seen among Toronto's raccoon population every two to three years."

The outbreak is mainly in the Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York areas of the 6ix.

It's important to note that after the city consulted with experts, it's safe to say that "these raccoon cadavers pose a low risk to humans and animals."

But people should avoid physical contact, and pet owners are advised to vaccinate their pets against distemper and rabies.

Mira Nabulsi
Toronto Associate Editor
Mira Nabulsi is an Associate Editor for Narcity Canada’s Ontario Desk focused on cheap travel from Toronto and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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