Family wants to keep pet raccoon Dennis, city says no way

Here at Critter Files, we like all critters. But this story about Dennis the raccoon being kept as a pet has us, frankly, a bit torn.

Wendy and Ron Hook adopted the raccoon when they lived in a rural part of Saskatchewan and consider him part of their family.

But last year when the couple moved to Saskatoon, they learned there is a city bylaw in their new town that forbids keeping a raccoon within the city limits.

The couple were informed that they couldn’t keep Dennis.

In fear that their pet would be seized, they fled Saskatoon and are now seeking sanctuary with friends in a place outside of the city limits.

Since the story first emerged last week, Wendy Hook told the Regina Leader-Post that support has poured in.

It’s been overwhelming, the positive response we’ve been getting from so many people not just from Canada, but the States, Europe and Asia.”

The city’s advisory committee on animal control looked into the case and said Hook can come and argue her case to keep Dennis but such a move would likely not succeed.

The committee’s chair expressed concerns that a single exception would like to making other exceptions.

Raccoon have become highly adaptable to living in urban settings because of the availability of food. More often than not, they’re getting their heads stuck is things like peanut butter jars.

The BC SPCA calls raccoon opportunists when it comes to food and not picky about shelter either. In nature, raccoon will den in tree cavities, brush piles, old stump and abandoned burrows.

But in developed areas, a chimney, attic, crawl space, shed, storm sewer, haystacks and barn lofts, make a comfortable resting area. Always prepared, raccoons will usually have more than one den site ready for use at one time in case they need to move out of an area quickly.

An online petition is asking for 1,000 signatures to help lobby the city to allow the couple to keep Dennis. So far, the petition has received 99 signatures.

h/t: Regina Leader-Post

Photo credit: Richard Marjan/Saskatoon Star Phoenix

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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