Raccoons spotted fleeing demolition site

Published on February 8, 2014
Buildings around the corner of Prince and Dominion Streets were demolished on Saturday. Concern had been expressed about the buildings being a safety hazard and about their negative effect on business in the area. 
Lynn Curwin

TRURO - Downtown buildings that were demolished on Saturday were not as empty as many people believed.

As excavators ripped material from dilapidated buildings located at 546 Prince St. (formerly Suckling and Chase florists) and 548 Prince St. (most recently used as an NDP campaign office) raccoons were seen fleeing the scene causing concern from some bystanders.

 “People often forget about the animals which might be living inside buildings like these,” said Helene VanDoninck, a veterinarian who runs the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. “The animals look for a warm, dark spot so there are ways to make a building unattractive to them before tearing it down. Noise, like loud talk radio, and spot and strobe lights usually get them to leave.”

She said that although raccoons usually have more than one spot to shelter, this is a bad time of year to destroy their shelter as they store food where they sleep. Because it has been so cold recently they would not have been very active and would not be moving quickly when demolition began, increasing the likelihood that they would be injured or killed.

“There are often birds living in abandoned buildings too,” said VanDoninck. “She recommends anyone planning to tear down a building should check for animals and use noise and lights to encourage them to move. The best time to do that is in the summer or fall, after any babies have gone.”