Friday, June 3, 2011

Man v. Raccoon: Which Side Are You On?

No one’s condoning animal cruelty here, but it seems plenty of people sympathize with Toronto homeowner-cum-alleged-raccoon-attacker Nguyen Dong. As The Globe and Mail’s Tu Thanh Ha reported, Mr. Dong was charged with cruelty to animals and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose after a neighbour called the authorities to report a man attacking raccoons in his backyard with a shovel-like tool. Mr. Dong’s wife, Thuy, told The Globe her husband was merely trying to scare the animals away with a broom.

Judging from reader comments, many have taken the side of Man against Critter. “Raccoons are pests and need to be removed,” one commenter wrote under the name Laser Envy. “…The only reason why this man is being vilified is because raccoons are pudgy and cute.” “What is next: Torontonians can be charged for killing mosquitoes, flies and rats?” wrote Carlos M, another commenter.

Mr. Dong’s case has clearly hit a nerve, as it raises both ethical and practical questions about our attitudes toward our fellow creatures. Does the cuteness factor really determine how we feel about ridding them? Or does it depend on the extent to which they cramp our lifestyle or threaten our health and safety? Just when animals do become pests?

Consider the case of a pet-eating wolf-dog that was killed last week off the coast of West Vancouver. Authorities there hired a trapper to go after the animal after attempts to capture it humanely failed. While the killing of the predator might have brought relief to residents, some Globe readers lamented the tactics used.
Read more from today's article at


  1. He was wrong...people for centuries have been removing what homes these animals have and they are forced to live amoung us...clearly we show knock down houses and create homes for these animals just to be fair...This was not the raccoons fault as they are just animals that don't know right from wrong but that man should as he is human. he should be put in jail and left there as he will do this again!!!

  2. Eagerly awaiting the court process to determine guilt and sentencing if found guilty.

    Overriding message should have been "NO EXCUSE FOR ANIMAL ABUSE", but the media shows what it thinks will sell: controversy.

    Differences of opinion, but there was this agreement: More and better education of citizens about wildlife in the city and a call for Toronto city to assist homeowners in humane removal.

  3. Cities and Towns need to help residents deal with the over populations of raccoons. I have had from 4-6 run my fence line for over 5 years. It's time the city put a human way to relocate them. It's not safe for the raccoons to run wild in the city or owners children and pets. Turning a blind eye is not a solution.

  4. I'm on the raccoons' side, no two ways about it. What this man did was vicious and inhumane. How he could stand hearing those animals scream out with every blow from his shovel and just keep on bludgeoning them, is beyond me. The neighbour who called the police said he could hear those baby raccoons screaming so loud he thought it was a child being murdered. It is also so shocking to see how many people sided with this cruel coward. There are humane ways to deter raccoons. Absolutely no need for this. I think the neighbour who called the police is great!