Amanda Tanner holds a picture of her pet raccoon Rascal. He was seized by a conservation officer and is now living at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.
Raised raccoon seized - Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca (external - login to view)
LAPLAND — Rascal loves Kraft Dinner. He picks the pasta up one piece at a time and eats it.
Amanda Tanner, 21, couldn’t go out for dinner without bringing him back McDonald’s fries or a McChicken sandwich, which he would happily wrap his paws around and chow down.
But Rascal’s absolute favourite snack is granola bars — the caramel kind coated in chocolate.
Rascal is a raccoon and, up until Oct. 27, he was Amanda Tanner’s pet. That’s the day he was seized by a Lunenburg County conservation officer.
The provincial Wildlife Act requires a special permit if someone wants to own a raccoon and Amanda didn’t have one. But that’s not really why he was seized.
Rascal was taken because he had bitten a Tim Hortons worker who was handing him a Timbit through the car window.
Paul Steadman said he feels badly about taking Amanda’s pet away, but he said Rascal had bitten someone and, as a male, would likely become more aggressive as he got older.
"There were a lot of tears, she was understandably upset," said Mr. Steadman, who had arrived at the house with a search warrant. "I did not enjoy doing this. But given the circumstances, we could not let it be."
"(Rascal) was cuddling them and everything and they were asking us not to take him, but we can’t ignore the fact someone had been bitten."
To me, this is not enough of a basis to assume he would become more aggressive, and none of the other animals that gave me a nip ever became more aggressive, it just happens when they smell food on your fingers or hands in most cases, no matter what the animal.
Amanda put Rascal in a pet carrier and he was taken to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, where the family is welcome to visit him.
"This is not normally the case," Mr. Steadman said. "The wildlife park is not a drop-off for raccoons, but these were unique circumstances."
Rascal does not know how to survive in the wild.
Amanda found him in March lying by the body of his dead mother at the end of their driveway in Lapland, just outside Bridgewater. He was so tiny his eyes were not even open yet.
"I fed him with a bottle. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and feed him and burp him and put him back to sleep."
As he grew, she took him for walks on his leash, and he got along fine with their five dogs, four cats and two budgies.
At night, he slept with his head on her pillow, but he would burrow under the blankets if he got cold. She said she misses him "like crazy" and worries about how Rascal is doing.
Mr. Steadman said there is a greater health and safety issue. Adult raccoons weigh close to 14 kilograms, have large teeth and can become quite aggressive when they sexually mature.
There were a record number of canine distemper cases reported in raccoons last year and they can become infected with parasites such as roundworm, as well as rabies.
He recommends if anyone finds a wounded animal, they contact the local Natural Resources Department. Rehabilitation centres exist across Nova Scotia that nurse animals back to health in a more natural environment, allowing for their release back into the wild when they have healed.
But on the bright side, at least they didn't put the raccoon down like they do with dogs.... which is a bit odd..... then again, there's more dogs and people take them for granted more.