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Is it illegal to kill a raccoon?

Is it illegal to kill a raccoon?—Taryn Swift, Moore Park

Speciesism is alive and well (or should we say running rampant) in Toronto, because while smaller, and arguably cuter, furry fauna like mice are considered fair game for catching and killing, larger mammals, like raccoons, are protected. For most Ontarians, it’s against the law to even own a body-gripping trap that can catch anything bigger than a rat, but the reason has nothing to do with a love of the dreaded garbage looters. It’s actually a nod to public safety. Any device big enough to off a raccoon could also snare the neighbour’s cat (or a small child). The same logic forbids the use of poison or firearms against raccoons. In other words, if you’re hell-bent on fashioning a homemade Davy Crockett coonskin cap, you may end up wearing it on the receiving end of a $5,000 fine. If you can prove a raccoon is destroying your property, you can live trap the creature and have a vet do your dirty work. There’s just one catch. Because of the many diseases they carry, wild animals are banned from veterinary clinics in Toronto. Good luck finding a vet who makes lethal house calls.

  • Ab

    I don’t understand outlawing killing raccoons.
    Unlike other animals, they are vermin. They are also number one carrier of rabies. They should be removed if they cause problems to households.

    The whole animal-right-deal came out of pomposity and self-righteousness. We can’t even feed the poor and take care of homeless people. Animal right sound quaint and cute but is not realistic.

  • Nesa

    Ab, I agree. If there was not such vast populated areas as in Ontario, there would not be as many Raccoons. They thrive in and around our cities like they would NOT in nature, and it’s against law to bring down this population of rabid animals, carrying parasites that are dangerous to cats and dogs, and even kill our smaller pets. I am an animal lover, but Coons are dangerous more than mice and rats, and this is our creation, they don’t exist in such great numbers outside cities it is something we created, and we need to be able to control this population. Just because they are big, does not mean we are out of options killing them.

    We should be able to trap them and take them to a place that will kill them, or administer leather shot of poison ourselves legally.

  • Maryam

    I never thought raccoons were as vicious as they were until I looked in my dad’s backyard shed this morning. My father had two runt hens that he kept, generally as a pet and for the occasional egg, and he also has a female cat who had a litter of 4 kittens in a cozy secure spot in the shed.

    I was told that a few weeks ago, a raccoon literally broke into the shed and devoured one of the hens. There was nothing left except the head, the two feet, and feathers. This morning they were back. They broke into the shed Again after my father worked to secure every possible spot that could be breached, and practically massacred the last hen, and the four two-week-old kittens. I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t even eat the chicken, nor the kittens. If raccoons are illegal to kill, then there must be a free raccoon-removing service. They can be terrible vicious creatures.

  • Dan

    What about drowning them.

  • raccoon lover

    There are thousands of destructive people in Toronto alone. Should they be killed. ? The posters here are pathetic .

  • A

    If a raccoon destroys my property I will shoot and kill it humanely with my air rifle, bag it, and throw it in the trash can.

  • Sanjay

    I think A has the right idea. If the damn thing get into my house again, it’s taking a shot or two from my Crossman.

  • CK

    All hope is not lost. The Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act spells out that individuals may trap and kill raccoons (nuisance animals) that are causing damage to their property. The animal must be causing real damage to the property not just going through the garbage. It must be a live trap – not a body trap. The issues are finding a humane way to kill the animal, and disposing of the dead animal.

    This is a real positive for those of us who are being truly harassed by the animals. BUT

    It is illegal to fire a gun in Toronto. And there are fines for contaminating a landfill if you just throw the bodies into the garbage.

    So how do you trap and kill the animals yourself? Can anyone tell me what qualifies as a “humane” way to kill a raccoon (oxy-moronic as the phrase is), and how to properly dispose of the carcasses?

    My back deck is a raccoon latrine – used by dozens of animals almost every night. I have two small children and the health risks are very real. The cost to trap and relocate the animals would be prohibitively expensive. I’ve done it and it cost us about $1000 to have a total of 11 animals removed and exterminated. There was no change in activity. A full campaign is required. The raccoons have destroyed 2 basement window casings and screens (climbing up to the deck), have entered our house and caused damage, and the location they use as a latrine requires frequent deep cleaning and replacement of decking. I think this situation qualifies as “nuisance animals”.

    If I can figure out how to most humanely exterminate the animals and where I can dispose of them, I will do this myself.

    Any ideas?

  • Lannie

    I live in central Alberta and the last couple of nights we have had ourselves a visitor. Yes a raccoon. what a surprise since they are not known to be in this area at all. I really do not agree with killing them. we are going to trap him or her and take it somewhere in the trees in an area outside of Red Deer which also has a stream. That is where they usually like to be. I know they can be destructive and we have two beloved cats so we want him out of here like yesterday but I could never kill something that cute. Yes they are so very cute and I don’t think they mean anyone any harm unless they are rabid. There is a place for every living creature in this world, they have gotten lost and just need to be brought back to where they belong. Trust me if the raccoon had ever hurt one of our beloved cats i would be out for blood but we are not taking any chances, the cats will stay in the house with us.

    Take Care All


  • tony

    Folks, you are being mislead. You ARE permitted to use a body griping trap BUT, ONE MUST BE a licensed Trapper for fur bearing animals in Ontario! You NEED a trappers license! I took the course, I have my license and can trap fur bearing animals on my private property in season and also “nuisance wildlife”. I can also trap on other people’s private property with written permission from them. You cannot transport a live raccoon and release it further than 1 km from where you caught it. But you see Toronto Animal Services doing it all the time, who is charging them?
    They are transporting diseases from one area to another doing this.

  • John

    You would be a rich man if you came to my neighborhood in Pickering and started to trap Raccoons. I’ve tried everything from critter-ridder to mothballs and it doesn’t deter the ones around here. I’ve tried ammonia soaked rags and coyote urine with no luck. They are using the sheds in my neighbor’s yards as well as my deck as latrines.

    The City of Pickering will do absolutely nothing to address the issue. My Mom’s friend just found a family of them living in her chimney and she now has to pay someone to remove them and re-secure her chimney (which did have a cap on it). Her sister has one that got into her attic and I can’t imagine the damage it’s doing up there, much less the cost of the cleanup.

    We removed our above ground pool 2 years ago and things got a bit better but they still leave their nasty piles for me to clean up. They’ve already started this year and I’m worried that this year may be worse than last. I have two small children and I don’t feel safe letting them out to play on their swing set as there are raccoon prints on that as well now.

    I know it may sound cruel, but I would not hesitate to drown one in a garbage can if I ever caught it in a trap.

    Do you have any contact information that you can provide?

  • Joe

    I had an overgrown raccoon rip a big hole on my roof and took up residence in my attic. Every time I would repair the hole it would rip another hole on my roof. Finally I bought a trap and caught it. I want so much to kill the piece of shit for all the damage it caused me but didn’t have the heart so I drove it to the country and released him.
    I don’t care if what I did was illegal, I was just doing what any man is suppose to do, protect his home and family. I would do the same thing again given the circumstances.

  • Tuna

    I live in a brownstone in downtown Toronto. Each spring/early summer I live trap between 4 to 10 ‘coons. I take them in the middle of the night to a conservation area, letting them go at the same spot so as to reunite the mother with the kits. You can buy cages at most Co-op stores in farming towns. Buy the biggest and bait the trap with cat food. Be sure to put down lots of newpaper under the trap in your car -they will deficate- and make certain to wear thick gloves. I’ve tried varios c.d.’s in my van to calm them during the ride and they seem to favour Sinatra. Go figure.

  • kevinbee

    No big trick getting rid of the little buggers without hurting a nit-infested hair of their cute little noggins.
    1. Go to Canadian Tire (or whatever) and buy the big-size cage trap for about $80. (Yeah, a bit pricey, but worth every penny, believe me.)
    2. Practice setting the trap and the releasing procedure. (Not rocket science.)
    3. Bait. (Important). I stand by my own secret concoction, which I call CoonCrack-O-Caine (patent pending). OK, OK, it’s just a big gooey gob of peanut butter, crunchy or otherwise, that I place in one of those tinfoil cupcake containers you buy in eight-packs at the dollar store round the corner.
    4. Place the trap and bait near the coons’ playground (tracks are a good clue) just after dusk since the little phuckers are nocturnal and most of the neighbors’ cats are inside.
    5. (Important) Raise the open mouth of the trap a couple of inches off the ground. Why? Ever see a raccoon up a tree? Hell, yes. Ever see a skunk up a tree? Duhh, don’t remember. Conclusion: Coons climb, no problem. Skunks can’t, not even two inches. Result: No panic calls to skunk crews to remove the big effen stinker and lighten your wallet by a c-note.
    6. Collect furball trophy next morning and bring it to a leafy retreat where it can romp all day, with plentiful stocks of food and drink nearby, instead of your backyard. When releasing, wear thick gloves just in case and point cage to ‘daylight’ — wide clear track that tells the little bugger freedom is thataway, and no mistake about it.
    While all this might sound a little light-hearted, it is wise to remember these little bastards are a serious threat. Prime source of rabies, ridden with parasites, fecal matter possessed of a bug that can be fatal or cause blindness in children.
    Finally, the rule of all rules, Be Careful.

  • Tony


    If you wanna get in touch with me I’ll help you out, very low cost:
    email me at:

  • Trapper D

    In California, it is illegal to transport a raccoon. So if you trap it, you must deal with it. If you are within City Limits, shooting a gun is usually illegal too.
    Best solution:
    1. Live box trap (one that will hold a raccoon).
    2. Drown in garbage can large enough to cover trap. Just put whole thing in at once. Takes about 30-60 seconds.
    3. Put in a thick plastic trash bag and in the garbage can.

  • Linda

    What is wrong with you sick people? You want to go around killing animals just for the hell of it? PEOPLE are vermon!!! WE carry way more diseases than any animal. Every life has the right to live and if you support killing animals just for the hell of it, you’re sick in the head.

  • spent 10K on my yard

    Not going to have raccoons ruin it. catching those buggers tonight.

  • A

    I’m in the vet industry and I’m supposed to be an animal lover but I draw the line at raccoons using our pool and deck as a toilet. I’m not the type to drown them or do something as inhumane but I can understand the frustration that might lead to that. These animals can leave fecal parasites that cause cysts in the brain and eyes. Susceptible humans are typically our children who always have to touch everything and then stick their fingers in their mouths. I’d kill a raccoon in a second before my child ends up in the hospital suffering from the effects of the aforementioned afflictions.
    All of you animal loving commentators who call people ‘sick in the head’ for their inhumanity will be sick in the head with brain tumors if we allow this cohabitation to exist. There is a difference between animals and humans. I like to think that we use appropriate waste vestibules rather than shitting infectious feces all over the place indiscriminately.
    That’s all I have to say. It should be enough.

  • craig

    Do not buy into the Urban myth that it is ILLEGAL to kill a raccoon. A licensed trapper can humanely dispatch of the animal LEGALLY even within the city of Toronto.
    Anybody who interferes with Lawful trapping can be charged by a conservation officer. Don’t laugh it has happened.

    The MNR sells small game licenses don’t they? raccoons are small game aren’t they?
    You can live trap the critter and if you have a firearm like a .22 you can dispatch of it humanely. MNR of Ontario and Wildlife Conservation act says: “a land owner can kill a wild animal that they believe will or has committed property damage”. Raccoons are nuisance animals under the law. City of Toronto has no authority over wildlife laws, they are a disgusting bunch of overpaid bureaucrats, they should have one licensed trapper for each ward that does the clean up of Raccoons in the fall when the season opens on them. Why do we pay taxes to this city for? it would cost them nothing cause the trappers would sell the fur in return. The Toronto Police are not conservation officers and should not act as such by giving out advice for homeowners in dealing with these pests or scaring people with animal cruelty charges. Stand up for your rights…

  • craig

    Do not listen to “Trapper D”. It is illegal to drown any animal wild or not. You will get charged with animal cruelty.
    Animal needs to be dispatched humanely: in legal terms it means a single small caliber bullet between the eyes.
    Read the wildlife laws. I took the course.

  • Pz

    Idk what the big deal is. Lots of ppl kill them

  • JACK


  • Proud Surrey

    So catch the coon, drive it to a rural area where the discharge of firearms is legal and blow its head open with a shotgun. Use #4 buck or larger; coons are bigger than most people think and birdshot is inappropriate. You can keep the pelt, but the only person you can sell it to is a licensed fur trader.

    That said, you can’t help but have some grudging respect for a critter that, if cornered on your second-storey deck, will wriggle between bars too close together to put your arm through, walk upside-down along the bottom of the deck using the joists as hand- and foot-holds, trot vertically down the wall, and skitter over a seven-foot fence–all in the blink of an eye.

    Bert Raccoon–Acrobat.

  • Proud Surrey

    In California, it is illegal to do anything that might make a liberal crybaby have an emotion. Sensible people shun that state with good reason.

  • Proud Surrey

    The discharge of firearms is illegal in most cities. I live in Surrey, one of the few large cities with agricultural zones, and in these zones, firearms can be discharged by landowners for pest control or the humane destruction of livestock. But you need the landowner’s permission to shoot your own gun there; for most, that’s not practical.

    Better option, hit the 401 until you’re outside of the city limits, take a short detour into the first Crown land you see, and give it some 12-gauge goodness. Make sure you finish the job; no cripples, please.

  • Proud Surrey

    Cite the appropriate law, please. And seriously, do you expect anyone to be afraid of Torontonian metrosexual? What are you going to do, hit them with your cycling helmet?

  • Proud Surrey

    Don’t be a sucker, Joe; just blow the vermin away. For all that I am a hunter, I like animals; all species, from the lowly arachnid to the powerful ursoid, are welcome on the Matthews homestead so long as they behave. If they do not behave I shall blast them. And that includes Homo sapiens as well.

  • Proud Surrey

    An air rifle isn’t nearly powerful enough for coon, unless it’s powerful enough to be considered a firearm under the law. Do yourself and the animal a favour and buy a real gun, even if it means you have to go to the country to shoot it.

    If you don’t care about the law, your best bet is a scoped, bolt-action .22 rifle loaded with subsonics such as CCI Quiets. The report is comparable to the clap of hands. Just don’t be seen, and be damned careful where you point it.

  • Proud Surrey

    Have you ever known a liberal who cared about reality? The guiding principle of liberalism is to shut out reality. Why do you think they smoke so much pot?

  • Proud Surrey

    For a start, may I suggest the Conservative Party of Ontario?

  • Proud Surrey

    Not unless you’re in favour of cruelty to animals. A Crossman is grossly underpowered for raccoon. If you want a non-firearm solution, buy a crossbow.

  • Proud Surrey

    Personally I prefer a .45-70 Government when dispatching varmints–but then, I prefer a .45-70 for everything because it’s what I own. For most people, a shotgun with #4 buck is a good choice.

  • Proud Surrey

    1. It’s not “vermon,” it’s “vermin.”

    2. You are emoting, which means
    a. you have no facts or insight to bring to the discussion, and
    b. you lose.

    You’ve been watching too many soap operas.

  • Proud Surrey

    Releasing them just makes them someone else’s problem, or leads to fights with other coons into whose territory they wander. Just because you don’t see what happens after you let them go doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. If you’re going to trap them, dispatch them.

  • Proud Surrey

    Can you transport it more than 1 km if you don’t release it…alive?

  • Proud Surrey

    1. Humane dispatch – firearm of suitable calibre (do NOT use an air gun; coon are much too large for this to work reliably). A .22 between the eyes will do the job, but you are better off slipping a centrefire varmint bullet #4 buckshot load between the ribs. (The head is a most difficult target because it is always in motion.) You will need a firearm license to purchase a crossbow, which will also work. Courses are available to teach both archery and firearms and are legally required in the case of firearms.

    2. Where to dispatch – Any Crown land, although a wooded area is preferred. The scavengers will see to it that nothing remains after more than a few days; this is Nature’s way of dealing with the dead. You may also use private property if the landowner agrees, so if you have a cottage or farm in an unincorporated area or know someone who does, this may be the choice for you.

    Toronto liberals say there are too many raccoons to ever get rid of. Next time one of these muffinheads tells you that, look them right in the eye and say, “So, you’re saying that it is impossible to hunt a species to extinction?” The flummoxed flabbergasting that ensues is to die for.

  • Proud Surrey


  • Proud Surrey

    Inhumane. Trap ‘em, drive ‘em to the woods, and introduce them to your trusty .30-06.

  • laabsy

    depends who you ask what consists of a firearm? mnr states even bows are considered firearms. and there are plenty of air rifles powerful enough for coon. some go up to 12-1300 fps. and are much safer to fire in the city. a 22 will travel much farther. all in all your best bet is probably an air rifle or arrow gun

  • laabsy

    but yes cci quiets are ridiculously quiet. quiet enough to target shoot in your basement

  • Proud Surrey

    A bow is not a firearm for the purposes of the law, even though many municipalities restrict their use. An air rifle of the power level you describe, however, is a firearm for the purposes of the law.

  • Hewmain

    There is no reason to hurt these animals. Use Hewmain™ Wildlife Removal Kits to evict and keep them out. If they can’t get in your attic, they will move on. These animals are opportunistic and don’t want to waste too much energy trying to get in your protected attic. Check out and buy the right kit.