/Minden staff to probe rodenticide use

Minden staff to probe rodenticide use

by James Matthews

Minden Hills will take a close look at how rodenticides are used on municipal property.

The issue was brought to the fore during the council’s Jan. 12 public meeting.

Allison Hansen, a concerned Minden Hills resident, came out against the persistent use of rodenticides. She said the chemicals are having a detrimental effect on children, companion pets, and wildlife.

Hansen’s dog died in 2021 due to liver failure as a result of rodenticide toxicity, she said.

“Our sweet Torchy always seemed to be an adept hunter,” she said. “She caught many rodents, and even gifted us the odd one.”

When she considers the dog’s short six-year life, Hansen said the reason the dog was able to catch the rodents so easily.

“They were sick, slow, and dying themselves,” she said.

Rodenticides are the means of choice by Haliburton County residents to deal with the pest animals. Even the Town of Minden Hills uses the black bait boxes.

“Personally, I’m horrified to think of the number of animals that we have lost and the damage that has occurred in our ecosystems as the result of these poisons,” Hansen said.

Rodenticides are inhumane, she said. The death that’s caused by such poisons is slow and cruel.

“These animals die a slow and painful death over the course of days or even weeks as they suffer internal hemorrhaging and neurological issues,” she said.

The chemicals are ineffective over the long term at controlling rodents. A better course of action is to rodent-proof a dwelling and remove the things that attract rodents.

“By poisoning rodents we are also poisoning the predators that rely on these rodents for food,” Hansen said.

She’s started a petition in Change.org against the use of rodenticides.

“Banning the sale and use of all rodenticides is the best approach to the safeguarding of what we hold dear here,” she said. “That is the environment, lakes, wildlife, and our families and companion animals that we share our space with.”

Councillor Pam Sayne said people should be fearful about the chemicals that are in our environment.

“All of that eventually ends up into our water, into the human system as well,” Sayne said.

She suggested there isn’t enough done in the way of public education about the issue.

“I would say that there’s a minimal amount of things that we could do,” Sayne said. “But we should be doing them at the municipal level.”

She suggested governing the use of such chemicals as rodenticides is more the responsibility of the provincial and federal governments.

“But we also need some of these rodenticides,” she said.

Sayne encouraged a public education campaign geared toward curbing rodenticide use.

“I don’t think we can ban it,” Sayne said.

Mayor Bob Carter said the issue needs to be studied a little more in depth. He suggested council request municipal staff look into the issue, compile a report, and return to council in April to propose possible steps to address concerns.

Coun. Ivan Ingram said information about rodenticide use and its danger should be posted on the town’s website for residents.