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Animal welfare groups sound alarm about spike in cruelty cases

Critter Care Wildlife Society

WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers might find disturbing. Discretion is advised.

A raccoon caught in a Conibear trap, its wrists crushed with deep cuts. An otter that suffered for weeks with a snare wrapped around its neck, digging ever deeper the longer it stuck there.

Those are just two of a number of cruelty cases that are weighing on animal welfare groups in the Lower Mainland, they say.

They’re sounding an alarm about the mounds of injured animals they have in their care.

Animal cruelty coverage:

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Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley is caring for 100 orphaned baby raccoons, most of which are there because of human interference — like the not-uncommon scenario in which raccoons are live-trapped and relocated, but the babies are left behind.

READ MORE: BC SPCA seizes 17 badly neglected dogs from Cowichan breeder

Groups like Critter Care say that’s what can happen when well-meaning but misinformed people take matters into their own hands.

But sometimes, people aren’t even trying to be humane.

Like the time a raccoon was shot through the jaw and abdomen with a crossbow in Maple Ridge last month.

Veterinarian Adrian Walton tried to save the animal, but it ultimately had to be euthanized.

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There was also the more recent case of a raccoon whose front paws were caught in a Conibear trap in Abbotsford.

“We assessed his injuries and they were severe, so he was humanely euthanized. Both of his wrists were crushed and had deep lacerations,” said Dawn Johnston with Critter Care Wildlife Society.

In another case, a river otter suffered for weeks while a snare set somewhere near West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park dug deeper and deeper into its neck.

The otter was finally rescued last month and is expected to make a full recovery.

Cruelty toward wildlife is on the rise, the groups told Global News.

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“The last couple years, we have seen more and more of these cases. This year alone, we have seen three in same amount of weeks,” said Adrian Nelson with the Association For the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

“There are solutions out there. Homeowners don’t have to be frustrated and take lethal measures into their own hands,” Nelson added.

Websites like thefurbearers.com offer numerous humane solutions to prevent conflict with wildlife.

People are also encouraged to call a wildlife rehabilitation center like Critter Care for advice.

–With files from Linda Aylesworth