LETTER: Think of animals when disposing trash

What we see as trash, animals often see as treasure. Unfortunately for raccoons and other animals who rummage though rubbish, a “treasure hunt” through our trash can end in tragedy. Animals looking for food frequently become injured or die when they get their heads or limbs caught in cans, jars, and other discarded food and beverage containers. Here are some tips to help your “wild” neighbors avoid being trapped by your trash:

Store garbage in an animal proof container. Trash can lids with clasps sometimes foil animals. Another solution is to place a small bag of “goodies” beside your garbage can each night: Your midnight raiders will likely leave the garbage alone.

Rinse out each tin can, put the cover inside, and crush the open end of the can as flat as possible. Put lids on bottles and jars, or plug holes before disposing of them.

Cut open one side of cardboard and plastic containers so that animal won’t get their faces or heads trapped in them. Use paper bags instead of plastic bags for your groceries.

Drop pop-tops into empty soda cans so that they cannot slit animals’ mouths or throats. Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds.

Tackle risky rubbish. Fishing line acts as an invisible trap for animals who walk or fly into it. Lead weights slowly poison birds who swallow them, and the barbs of discarded hooks get caught in animals’ throats. Help animals by walking along the water and picking up debris that may injure them.

The wild animals that we see in our parks and backyards are just as much a part of our communities as any of us two-legged residents. As we continue to swallow up the natural habitats of animals with our intense development, we must do our best to look out for all of our animal neighbors. For more great tips on peacefully co-existing with wildlife, please visit HelpingWildlife.com.

Amy Elizabeth

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals