Shocking animal cruelty': Cambridge resident wants justice for raccoon trapped in Preston Springs demo

·3 min read

After recording a terrified raccoon jumping from a third-floor window of Preston Springs Hotel during the building’s demolition on Jan. 4, Mike Rau wants someone to be held accountable.

In two videos posted to Rau’s Facebook account, the raccoon is first seen clinging to the window sill as the demolition equipment bangs away at the building. As debris falls in the building and dust swirls, the raccoon hangs from the wooden window frame and defecates.

In the second video, a pile of debris falls and some hits the inside of the window, and the raccoon jumps to the ground, clipping a thin branch from a tree below. With a wooden fence at ground floor, Rau said he doesn’t know if the raccoon survived.

Warning: The following videos contain strong language and scenes some may find distressing. “Even if he survived the four-storey fall on a tree, I’m sure if he didn’t die on the spot, he ran away scared and suffered severe injuries or death somewhere else. Not to mention there were at least seven raccoons living in the hotel. What about the rest of them?” said Rau, calling what he witnessed “shocking animal cruelty”.

Rau said he’s emailed Deputy City Manager Hardy Bromberg and city staff with his concerns, claiming city staff told him demolition was halted “until animal control gave them the OK”. Rau said animal control staff weren’t onsite.

“The way the city and Sittler Demolition handled the welfare of these innocent creatures is deplorable. Sure, some might say raccoons are a nuisance animal, but no animal deserves this type of treatment,” he said.

Bromberg said he has already responded to Rau’s emails, but reiterated when concerns were made known about a raccoon, demolition was halted until animal control officers investigated and said demolition could proceed.

“I have also spoken with Animal Welfare Services with the province and there has been no follow up or concerns noted from their perspective,” Bromberg said.

“Unless we hear further, we consider this matter to be resolved.”

Rau said he has also contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Provincial Animal Welfare Services.

Jolanta Kowalski, spokesperson for MNRF, said conservation officers responded to the animal cruelty complaint regarding the raccoon.

“Conservation officers determined there was no violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act,” Kowalski said.

Brent Ross, spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General, confirmed Animal Welfare Services is investigating the matter.

“Given the ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to provide further detail.”

Rau said it’s not acceptable no fines have been handed out to his knowledge. He is still seeking retribution for the animal, more than two months after the incident.

“Their excuse is education first. They were clearly in the wrong in the video and just a simple conversation from animal welfare to the guilty parties is not justice for the animal in my opinion,” Rau said.

Bill Doucet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times