Belleville will develop a policy regarding the use of animal traps for fur-bearing animals, including the use of leg holding traps.
Council made the decision following a presentation from the Ontario Fur Managers Federation and a lengthy debate on the issue at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Wilfred Deline of the Federation pointed to the damage beavers cause and urged the city not to ban leg hold traps. He said flooding had caused a great deal of damage in many municipalities, even causing a train derailment in one area. He said “safety is a major consideration.” He called on the city to not “eliminate or ban any method, do not ban traps.”
Without naming names, Deline said “some individuals are never satisfied with whatever method is used,” and he warned, “raccoon rabies are heading east” and urged the city “not to eliminate any tools.”
When questioned about posting signs to alert people about traps in the area, Deline said. “Animal welfare groups damage them and steal them.”
General Manager of Transportation and Operations for the city, Joe Reid, told council the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has offered to provide training to city staff and neighbouring municipalities on best practices for dealing with nuisance beavers. The city of Belleville will host the training in the spring of 2019.
In his report, Reid says the Fur-Bearers have been helpful in their research and understand the need to protect private property and municipal infrastructure but do so in a progressive manner, applying progressive measures and trapping as a last resort.
Councillor Kelly McCaw called on council to set a “shining example” of how to handle the issue and to approve live traps only.
Council approved development of a policy which could include leg hold traps along with others types, on a recorded vote of six to three, with Councillors Egerton Boyce, Kelly McCaw and Mitch Panciuk voting against.