Canadians come to beavers' defense

July 17, 2010 at 5:03 PM

RED DEER, Alberta, July 17 (UPI) -- Residents of a Canadian city have come to the defense of beavers in a downtown park that have been attacking off-leash dogs, city officials say.

Officials in Red Deer, Alberta, had announced plans to trap and kill the dozen or so beavers blamed for attacks on at least six dogs swimming in a pond in the park, but wildlife groups and citizens created a storm of protest that has the city of 90,000 rethinking its plans, the National Post reported Saturday.

"We have received an abnormally large number of calls and e-mails," Kevin Poth, superintendent of the city's park system, said, noting about 75 dog advocacy groups, wildlife groups and concerned citizens had contacted him in two days.

"It really has opened up our community to have an interesting discussion about how we interact with wildlife in an urban center," he said.

"It's an animal, that's its home in the bush," resident Brad Cotter said of the beavers.

"What would you do if someone came into your home?" Cotter, who takes his German shepherd to the park every day, asked.

"They were talking about trapping and killing them. Why would you go and kill a Canadian icon?"

The city has decided it will try to relocate the animals, Poth said.

Four members of the public have already come forward with offers to host the beavers on private land, he said.

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