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Toronto Animal Services Says Pickup Of The Dead Raccoon Was Not Delayed

BuzzFeed Canada can also report that #DeadRaccoonTO has been cremated.

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It took Toronto Animal Services 14 hours to remove a dead raccoon's body from a busy Toronto street. That inspired the #DeadRaccoonTO viral sensation, which errupted after citizens erected a memorial to the dead animal.

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But Fiona Venedam, a supervisor with Animal Services, told BuzzFeed Canada that the removal of #DeadRaccoonTO fell within their usual timeframe.

"We have a 24-hour response timeframe for cadavers," she said. "We usually pick cadavers up at night. It's a lot safer for staff, there is less traffic."

She said that means pickup typically happens between 7:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. The raccoon was eventually fetched just after 11 p.m.

Animal Services was alerted to the dead animal as early as 9:05 a.m. when a pedestrian tweeted the city's contact centre.

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

As the hours passed, people created a memorial to the raccoon, not to mention the #DeadRaccoonTO hashtag. It went viral.

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Venedam said she has seen other memorials to dead animals, but that "this is the first time I’ve seen one in probably 10 years. I have seen them before but they are not that frequent."

And is it the first viral vigil?

"That is a fair statement, definitely," she said.

The city worker who finally came and picked up the raccoon unceremoniously placed it in a garbage bag, telling onlookers, “Seriously guys, it’s a dead raccoon.”

The city of Toronto worker is now preparing to remove the raccoon. #DeadRaccoonTO

Venedem told BuzzFeed Canada the raccoon was taken to the Animal Services crematorium located on the city's west side. Asked if the internet-famous raccoon was given any special consideration, she said, "Um, no. I’m not going to lie."

Animal Services pick up 40 to 60 dead animals on a daily basis throughout the city, according to Venedam. "That’s call cadavers, whether it be raccoons, skunks, squirrels, possums."

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"This time of year a lot of raccoons are exhibiting signs of distemper, a virus that attacks their central nervous system," she said. "They become disoriented and they could easily walk out into traffic and get hit by a car."

That could explain how this particular raccoon met his demise.

Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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