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City of Hamilton urging residents to leave wildlife alone

The City of Hamilton is urging local residents to be careful when handling wildlife. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

The City of Hamilton is pleading with residents not to interfere with wildlife as officials say an increased number of animals are being removed from their natural habitat.

In a release, the city’s animal services department says it is concerned about wild animals being unnecessarily brought to shelters.

“Citizens are removing wildlife from their habitats out of a variety of reasons and good intentions,” the city said in a release on Friday. “While it is out of sincere concern, City of Hamilton Animal Services is experiencing an increase in calls and emails about wildlife and noticing that these animals are coming into the shelter unnecessarily.”

READ MORE: Hamilton reviewing protocols after rabid raccoon fights 2 dogs in animal control van

The city urges anyone who finds a sick, injured or abandoned wild animal not to remove it from its habitat.

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“If citizens find a sick, injured or abandoned wild animal, the city asks that you don’t remove the animal right away from its natural habitat as the animal may not need assistance. Removing the animal could do more harm than good,” the release said.

Animal Services recommends that:

  • If you find an abandoned young animal separated from adults or left on its own, keep pets like cats and dogs away from the animal and try to limit the amount of noise near it. The parents of some animals will often leave them alone while they’re searching for food or in an effort to lead predators away from the babies.
  • If you find a nest somewhere that it cannot remain (e.g. if it’s located on an air vent on a house), carefully move the nest and its contents (babies or eggs) to a high, safe location nearby. The parents will return and continue caring for them in their new location. An adult parent may not return if it is noisy or if predators or people are nearby.
  • If you come across sick or diseased wildlife and you suspect there is a public health risk, including the possibility of rabies, contact Animal Services right away at 905-574-3433.
  • If you see wild animals that you believe are orphaned, call one of the wildlife rehabilitators whose number is listed on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s website.

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The city says the best a person can do when they are concerned about a wild animal is check on it periodically for 24 to 48 hours while keeping some distance from it.

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If you believe an animal is in distress, call Animal Services’ 24-hour hotline at 905-574-3433.

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