Noticing more roadkill around Toronto? You're not the only one

When Louise Piper came across a dead raccoon on the sidewalk in front of her neighbour's house last Saturday, she didn't think it would still be there four days later — after all, it was wrapped in a plastic bag and appeared ready to be picked up. 

City says it's dealing with backlog of 260 requests to dispose of dead critters

Louise Piper said it took four days for Toronto Animal Services to pick up a bagged, dead raccoon in front of her neighbour's house. By that point, she says she could smell the carcass from five houses away. (Louise Piper/Twitter )

When Louise Piper came across a dead raccoon on the sidewalk in front of her neighbour's house, she didn't think it would still be there four days later — after all, it was wrapped in a plastic bag and appeared ready to go. 

"[It was] pretty vile to be honest, to be left there in the heat," Piper told CBC Toronto. 

It was Saturday when she first came across the dead animal in a bag on the ground.

When Monday rolled around and it was still there, she took to Twitter to get the city's attention. 


"I could start to smell it and there was flies," Piper said. 

But two days later the creature still hadn't been cleaned up. "I could smell it up here ... about four or five houses up," Piper said. 

Finally, at some point on Wednesday — day four — the animal was picked up by Toronto Animal Services. 

"I'm glad it's gone," she said.

Louise Piper says it's concerning that children can walk by dead animals that haven't been picked up for several days. (Vedran Lesic/CBC)

Delays up to 10 days 

It turns out there's a reason for the delays — the city says it's dealing with a backlog of 260 requests for dead animal removal. 

Normally, it's supposed to take between 48 and 72 hours — but in a tweet to Piper, 311 Toronto warned that because of the high volume, it could now take up to 10 days for the city to collect animal carcasses. 


In a statement, animal services said the city prioritizes the removal of certain animals, which affects wait times for the remaining requests. 

"Removal timelines may vary for a number of reasons, including the prioritization of sick and injured animals, increased demand as animals become more active in warmer weather, and availability of Animal Care and Control Officers," the statement reads. 

'This is really kind of a health hazard' 

Piper said she's uncomfortable having her child in close proximity to a rotting animal. 

"It's pretty gross when you have a small child and you're walking down here every day," Piper said. 

She's not the only one with concerns. 

Michael Januska says he and his wife both called 311 last week to ask that a dead raccoon be picked up from the middle of the sidewalk near St. Clair Avenue and Mount Pleasant Boulevard. 

Resident Michael Januska says he's been waiting over a week for the city to clean up a dead raccoon near the intersection of St. Clair Avenue and Mount Pleasant Boulevard.  (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

It's been there for a week and counting. 

"We are waiting and waiting and thinking, this is really kind of a health hazard. There's kids and families walking by, people walking their dogs," Januska told CBC Toronto Wednesday.

"It's just getting worse and worse. It's attracting flies."

'There's a nice little evidence of it left there,' Louise Piper said of the spot on the sidewalk where the bagged raccoon had been left for several days. (Vedran Lesic/CBC)

Now he says the animal is in "an advanced stage of decomposition." 

"If this is a volume issue, how many other animal cadavers are around the city in public spaces, public parks, that have to be dealt with?" he said. 

"I think the city is waiting for it to turn to dust and blow away." 

What to do if you come across roadkill  

According to the city's website, you can submit a service request for the removal of a dead animal online or over the phone — although there's no telling exactly how long it will take to get picked up. 

The city warns residents not to touch the animals with their bare hands, but to wear gloves and place the carcass in a plastic bag.

While Toronto Animal Services will pick up larger animals, the city's Solid Waste Management Services will pick up smaller wildlife, like mice, rats, small birds, or chipmunks. 

With files from Greg Ross


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