Across the city, hordes of raccoons are overturning green bins, clawing their way into garages, and leaving toxic droppings behind – unaware of the rancour their behaviour is causing.
A handful of Toronto residents gathered Saturday afternoon in support of Dong Nguyen, 53, a west-end homeowner accused of using a shovel to attack a family of raccoons in his backyard near Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue.
Police arrested Nguyen early Thursday morning and charged him with animal cruelty and weapon possession after neighbours heard animals screeching and called 911.
Someone has been circulating flyers suggesting Nguyen move out of the neighbourhood and others have mounted posters opposing animal abuse.
“I think the city is at fault here,” said community activist Ken Wood. “Toronto Animal Services needs to step up and assist homeowners when they have to go in and humanely remove raccoons.”
But others say though they don’t condone violence, they understand Nguyen’s frustration and think it’s wrong to ostracize the family.
“(Nguyen’s wife) was in tears when she was telling us about that poster,” neighbour Zabar Moursalien said. “People want them out of the neighbourhood.”
Councillor Ana Bailão says the city is bound by Ministry of Natural Resources laws, and commercial companies are responsible for removing raccoons.
For tips on deterring raccoons, visit the City of Toronto website.