Nova Scotia

Beaver killing over home flooding prompts complaint

Neighbours in a small Annapolis Valley community have different opinions on the provincial government killing a beaver.

Trapper licensed by Department of Natural Resources killed a beaver after dam flooded, damaged property

A beaver maintained this dam for six weeks, despite Brenda Potter's efforts to dig it out. (Brenda Potter)

Neighbours in a small Annapolis Valley community are at odds over the provincial government killing a beaver.

The beaver had built a dam that, for six weeks, caused one homeowner's well water to be undrinkable, and blocked the drain pipe, making it impossible to use water without flooding the basement.

"It's nice to see the wildlife, but they've really hindered my lifestyle by interfering with my water supply, my septic drainage and my sink drainage," Brenda Potter said Thursday.

Potter lives on Clementsport Road in Clementsvale, N.S., less than 20 minutes outside Digby.

'They did it anyway'

Her neighbour Karen Enright says she owns the land surrounding a brook, in which a beaver had built a dam. Enright says she explicitly forbid the Department of Natural Resources to set foot on her land.

A man with permits from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources set traps earlier this week to kill the beaver — and it worked.

"We were so angry, on many different levels, mostly that we had given explicit instructions that they did not have our consent to cross our property," Enright told CBC's Maritime Noon.

"They did not have our consent to set kill traps — and they did it anyway."

Tuesday morning, her husband found the beaver dead in a trap in their marsh, she said.

Karen Enright's husband found this beaver killed on their property Tuesday morning. (Karen Enright)

On Thursday, a spokesman for Department of Natural Resources said in an email statement that staff will investigate Enright's complaint to make sure rules were followed in the "trapping of a nuisance beaver creating flooding and causing property damage."

Bruce Nunn clarified Friday that the department did not send the trapper — rather, he said it was a licensed trapper who people can call to remove "nuisance wildlife."

"There's a potential that there could be an investigation here, so there's not much that we can comment on," Nunn said.

Weeks of struggling

Enright said she's struggled for weeks with the province over the attempts to catch the animal.

"Both of us are animal lovers. We love the abundance of wildlife here in Nova Scotia," she said.

On May 21, she said she was dining with friends when a man walked by with a rifle. Her husband told the man they didn't want guns or kill traps on their property. 

The man then removed the four traps he set and left, Enright said.

The beaver dam blocked pipes, which caused her home's water system to back up, Brenda Potter said. (Brenda Potter)

'Other solutions' requested

Since then, Enright said she's been disappointed by the government's responses to her complaints — despite being clear with her wishes.

"We understand there was an issue with the beaver building a dam. It was causing some property damage to the road and whatnot, but we asked for other solutions," Enright said.

According to a staffer at the local DNR office, the couple could pay to relocate the animal live, she said, but he indicated it could be difficult due to a surplus of beavers. Enright said he could not provide a report showing the over population.

"Live trapping is a difficult, time-consuming and costly process," a department website on beaver control says. "Due to high beaver populations and limited free habitat into which trapped animals may be released, it is seldom justified in Nova Scotia."

The site also suggests culvert guards, protectors and cleaners, and pipes and electric fences to control water levels against beaver dam damage.

Euthanized not 'for the fun of it'

As for Potter, she said she's relieved the situation is over after six weeks of "undue stress" from manually digging out the dam in order to use water in her house. 

"I understand the neighbours are upset, but they need to understand that we didn't just go in there and trap and euthanize a beaver for the fun of it," she said.

"It was causing a serious concern to my daughter and my welfare and our property."

No one from the Department of Natural Resources was available for an interview.

With files from Maritime Noon, Cassie Williams