A wildlife sanctuary has been raided by Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and 95 rescued raccoons have been seized.
Mally’s Third Chance Raccoon Rescue and Rehabilitation Sanctuary is a facility in Southern Ontario that cares for injured and orphaned raccoons, rehabilitates them, and releases the animals back into the wild. On September 26, 2023, over 50 MNRF officers arrived unannounced with vehicles and drones, and began removing every raccoon from their enclosure and forcing them into small cages in the back of pick-up trucks.
The officers seized phones from the staff at Mally’s and forced them to leave, preventing any footage from being taken of the incident. Witnesses of this brutal event reportedly watched with shock and horror as raccoons cried and struggled. Staff and volunteers at Mally’s fear that raccoons may be killed by the MNRF.
The MNRF says the charity violated the provincial Wildlife Conservation Act, a claim that Mally’s wholly denies.
According to a volunteer who spoke with the Canadian Press, Mally’s mostly works to rehabilitate orphaned baby raccoons, and helps them reach maturity so they can be released. Mally’s has said that almost all of the raccoons seized by the MNRF were set to be returned to the wild in the coming days or weeks.
Poor Use of Government Resources
The MNRF’s large-scale raid at Mally’s appears to be a disproportionate and unreasonable use of government resources. Ontario is already facing a shortage of wildlife rehabilitators, who receive little to no support from the government. Members of the public who find injured wild animals often have no place to take them for care.
The Ministry’s response is especially concerning considering they continue to refuse to enforce the law to stop cruel, inhumane, and illegal practices such as coyote hunting contests, despite countless calls from the public.
The Ministry is also expanding penned dog hunting in Ontario, where hunters let dogs chase and often rip apart live animals like foxes, coyotes, and rabbits in an enclosed area. The practice is widely condemned because of its inherent cruelty, and is banned in all other Canadian provinces. Cracking down on raccoon rehabilitators while giving the green light to violent penned dog hunts shows that the Ministry is failing to protect the health and well-being of wildlife.
If the MNRF has reason to be concerned about the care of wildlife, it should take steps to ensure animals are protected, including working with and supporting rehabilitators to bring them into compliance. But the scale and extent of the Ministry’s response to Mally’s is shocking when compared to its inaction against those who permit cruel practices by hosting contests and exhibitions.
Tell the MNRF to use its resources to enforce the law against those who illegally hunt, kill, and injure wild animals, rather than targeting wildlife rehabilitation facilities, like Mally’s!