Animal Services Incompetence Leads To Vigil For Dead Raccoon

This is a story about a dead raccoon, Canadian sense of humor, and how the incompetence of Toronto’s Animal Services ultimately leads to a sensational Internet story.

dead raccoon leads vigil
Photo credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson — Image via Wikimedia Commons

On the morning of July 9, 2015, Jason Wagar of Toronto was strolling down a sidewalk. All of a sudden, he spots a dead raccoon. This revelation leads Wagar to do what any good citizen would do and alert the city of the poor animal’s demise. Using Twitter, Wagar sends a message to @311Toronto (the city’s non-emergency city services):

@311Toronto There’s a dead raccoon on the sidewalk outside 819 Yonge (at the SE corner of Church).

? Jason Wagar (@jasonwagar) July 9, 2015

@311Toronto tweeted back that Animal Services had been notified.

Jason Wagar, satisfied, carries on about his business. A few hours later, the raccoon was still dead, still on the sidewalk, and Animal Services has not shown up. However, there was a note next to the poor animal that read:

“Rest dear raccoon. Help is on the way from the city.”

A few hours later, Jason Wagar once again spots the raccoon, this time with the note, a rose, and a framed picture — a petite procyon memorial in the making.

Several more hours pass and the small memorial for the dead raccoon leads the denizens of Toronto to add to it. Animal Services still fails to arrive. Cards and flowers are left. A marker is left at the site so others can offer their condolences to the deceased animal. Someone even wrote #DeadRaccoonTO on a piece of paper and left it at the scene, unwittingly bringing this unfortunate animal to Internet fame.

Jason Wagar walked by again nearly 12 hours after he had initially told the city about the raccoon. Frustrated at the city and at Animal Services, Wagar once again alerted @311Toronto, as well as City Councillor Norm Kelly (@Norm), that the raccoon was still on the sidewalk and Animal Services still has yet to show.

@Norm took over, informing @311Toronto that the memorial was growing. He further tweeted that residents should keep their green bins open in honor of the raccoon and made a reference to Drake.

As is common with the Internet, growing exposure leads to different people putting their two-cents into the topic. Some Twitter users found the memorial for the dead raccoon disgusting–

The whole #DeadRaccoonTO thing is disgusting. Haven’t been so embarrassed to say I’m from #Toronto in a long time.

? PK ? (@brotherpetekic) July 10, 2015

— While others championed the event, thinking it had a positive impact on the people of Toronto.

I don’t really understand how the magic that is #DeadRaccoonTO is happening, but it is fantastic that our city can come together for this.

? JSON Statham (@sachasayan) July 10, 2015

Following a candlelight vigil and the appearance of a donation box for a proper funeral for the raccoon, Animal Services finally arrived to pick up the raccoon that became a posthumous Internet sensation. The saga of #DeadRaccoonTO came to an end a little after 11 p.m., 14 hours after Jason Wagar stumbled upon a dead raccoon and unknowingly started an Internet sensation.

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