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Suburbia Safer with Trap-and-Release Program for Lost City Dwellers

Suburbia Safer with Trap-and-Release Program for Lost City Dwellers

A new trap-and-release program for city dwellers found wandering aimlessly around the suburbs of major Canadian cities is bringing positive results, say officials with Suburban Environment Canada.

"Mainly we used to just shoot 'em," said Don McIntyre, co-ordinator of the Toronto-area pilot program. "You know, to put 'em out of their misery and prevent any violent confrontations between the disoriented city folk and local residents."

The new program has been well received by Canada's suburban population. In Newmarket, Ontario, concern has been mounting about increasing numbers of lost, bleary-eyed Torontonians drifting around subdivisions and strip-malls.

"I guess they come out for their own reasons, " said Florence Benoit of Newmarket. "You know, to see family or friends, or maybe just to get a look at the spaciousness we enjoy out here. Problem is, some of 'em go kinda wonky."

"Conventional wisdom had it that once a city person got lost in the suburbs, they were done for, that was it," explained McIntyre. "You'd find them walking in circles in people's backyards, or they'd be causing a nuisance at the Quickie Mart, pouring scalding hot coffee all over the place. Often as not they might end up wandering down the middle of the road talking to themselves. Now even a city person is no match for a 3000-pound SUV, but you can still do a lot of damage to your front grill if you hit one."

Model FS-100 Subway trap being installed in Messafield Park where at least a dozen city dwellers have been spotted.
McIntyre took us out to check on some of the traps, which are cleverly disguised as entrances to TTC subway stations. The first two were empty, but the third trap held a robust specimen, which McIntyre deftly stunned with a tranquilizer dart and then tagged with a small radio transmitter. As two assistants loaded the unconscious individual into a cage on the back of his pickup, McIntyre noted that of some 45 wayward city dwellers returned to Toronto since April, only three have subsequently been re-trapped in the same suburb. All three were neutered as a deterrent, although this later turned out to have been the result of a clerical error.

After his release at the corner of Yonge and Bloor, 32-year-old Toronto resident Andy Wexler awoke dazed but grateful. "I went out to Newmarket to see my buddy Chris and I lost the address," Wexler recounted as he spooned horseradish onto a hot dog purchased from a nearby vendor. "I know he lives on some kind of crescent, or circle. Or maybe it's a terrace. I had to take five buses to get there and I think I must have gotten really dehydrated."

Wexler chewed thoughtfully and his eyes glazed over a bit. "They have these enormous stores out there, you know, Home Depot and Wal-Mart and so on. I mean I've seen pictures of them before, but they're a lot bigger in real life. I mean they're really big. Things got a bit weird after that. I'm not sure, I can't remember."

Posted on June 20th, 2005


 

 

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