Around 9 AM yesterday, a Toronto resident named Jason Wagar tweeted to the city about a dead raccoon on the side of the road. Only 12 minutes later, there was a response that said animal services had been notified. But three hours later, the critter was still on its back, spread-eagle, with its tongue sticking out.
By this time, some sympathetic soul had left a note. "Rest dear raccoon," it read. "Help is on the way from the city."
The message of assurance was premature. Help was not, in fact, on the way for almost 12 hours. In the meantime, someone managed to slide a single rose under the animal's stiffened little arm, and someone else (or maybe it was the same person?) framed what looks like a stock image of a raccoon and placed it on the sidewalk.
After someone wrote #DeadRaccoonTO on a piece of paper, the bizarre memorial went viral and even earned the animal a name—Conrad. Cards and other tributes accumulated. A local politician named Norm Kelly even got in on the conversation and remarked, "Damn. Life's so short."
By 7:50 PM, the shrine had evolved into this:
While amusing, the stunt has drawn attention to the fact that the animal services department in Toronto is apparently very overworked. According to the Global Mail, the cadaver was finally picked up at 11 PM last night and unceremoniously thrown into a plastic bag.
Toronto's animal services announced today that it will be cremated, and thanked distressed animal lovers for their understanding. They cited the fact that they get 35,000 calls per year and must prioritize imperiled animals over roadkill.
Wagar, the person who first alerted the city, is now asking for people to donate to the Toronto Wildlife Center.
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