Trapping of cats, skunks to continue while city reviews beaver control

Red Deer residents still have access to live traps for catching skunks and cats while the City of Red Deer undertakes a review on beaver control.

Red Deer residents still have access to live traps for catching skunks and cats while the City of Red Deer undertakes a review on beaver control.

Alberta Animal Services has been fielding numerous calls from residents wondering if the company’s live trap program has been shut down in the wake of a city review of its animal trapping policy within city parks.

Duane Thomas, director of enforcement services for Alberta Animal Services, said its programs have not been affected by the city review.

“Everything in our department is still running,” said Thomas on Wednesday. “There was worry that there wouldn’t be any animal control. We are still dealing with bylaws and things like that.”

Some residents were also phoning to see if they had to return live traps to the business.

People can rent live traps from Alberta Animal Services so they can trap cats and skunks. The cats are then impounded by Alberta Animal Services, while skunks are euthanized by the business.

“Skunks are considered a pest under the Agriculture Act, so we don’t release them,” Thomas said. “They are caught humanely . . . and euthanized humanely in our facility.”

The city announced it would review its beaver management program after a woman’s dog was snared at Three Mile Bend late Friday night.

The golden retriever-cross got its neck caught in a wire snare after it disappeared into the bush. The woman found her dog and the trapper checking on the snares came by and released the dog.

The dog survived.

Problem animals within the city are targeted by a licensed trapper who uses internationally approved equipment and follows city-set guidelines, according to parks superintendent Trevor Poth.

Among the requirements is that the trapper stay within the park the whole time and check on traps frequently.

Trapping of beavers has since stopped for the season at Three Mile Bend, an off-leash dog park.

The city will include looking at practices in other cities and explore other alternatives.

Poth hopes the review will be done by mid-September.

“We’re really trying to protect our parks,” Poth said. “With the average beaver removing more than 200 trees per year and very few natural predators within an urban environment, beaver population management is a necessary part of providing great parks and natural areas.”

Besides beaver control, the only other pest the city tries to control are mosquitoes, he added.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife handles larger animals like moose.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com