This article appeared in the Salem News on June 21, 2013.
These four baby raccoons in a cage were found one recent evening in a parking lot in Beverly by a Friends of Beverly Animals (FOBA) volunteer. She took them home so nothing would happen to them overnight sitting alone in this crate. The next day, she searched online and by telephone for a wildlife rehabilitator who would be able to help them survive without their mother. Animal hospitals and wildlife workers from other parts of the state were contacted but said they could not help. Finally, a certified person was found who took them to be cared for until they can be released.
The public needs to know that it is illegal to trap, move or keep a wild animal. Unless there was absolute proof that the mother was dead, the person who put them into the crate and abandoned them to their fate should have left them where they were. The mother may have been out looking for food.
Also, people should be aware that if they call an exterminator to remove a wild animal from their home or yard, the exterminator is required by law to destroy the animal. This may be done legally by gassing and even drowning. Exterminators are not allowed to move the animals from the site; they are only allowed to release them onto the same property.
So please, learn to live with wild animals that make their home in our area. They all serve a purpose in the world. Without them, this world would be a sterile and less beautiful place.
Heidi Roberts is president of Friends of Beverly Animals.