No animal is quite as synonymous with the fun, friendliness, and overall adorability in Montreal as the beloved squirrel. Found in parks and trees across the island, squirrels are pretty much an icon of Montreal, and their return always heralds the coming of sun and good times.
Cute and rambunctious beyond description, a moment shared between a Montreal squirrels is always precious. That's pretty much why anyone is always keen on sharing whatever morsel of food they may have on them with a super kawaii squirrel. You just want them close enough to take in all the cute.
But while the people of Montreal have a love affair with squirrels, the city has an antithetical perspective on our beloved furry friends and how they should be treated.
Whereas any Montrealer with a heart would gladly give up a crust of bread to a needy (or already well-fed) squirrel, certain administrative sections of Montreal deem the act an offence and worthy of a fine. That's right, in some boroughs, it is pretty much illegal to feed squirrels.
Global News's Billy Shields first shed light on this rather startling fact, documenting how citizens in Montreal West are receiving fines for sharing some food-based love with squirrels. In the borough, it is illegal to do so, just as it in Westmount, Cote-St-Luc, and Kirkland.
Other boroughs take a similar stance on squirrel-feeding. In the Plateau, extending a warm invitation of food to a needy squirrel can get you a fine of $60, administrative costs not included. The "devastation" that can be left by squirrels (and also pigeon-poop) in gardens is cited as a reason for the fine.
LaSalle feels the same way, with the feeding of squirrels and other like wild animals strictly forbidden in the borough. Fortunately, the price for a first offence is set at a reasonable $20.
Ville-Marie takes things even further. Looking at the borough's Animal Control Regulation, Article 17.11 states that it is strictly forbidden to feed wild animals such as squirrels (along with pigeons, gulls, raccoons, and more), and anyone caught doing so can receive a fine of $300 for a first offence.
Anjou seems to be one of the only boroughs that has some love for the city's squirrels. While the borough does say it is illegal to feed pigeons and gulls, squirrels are "are not considered a nuisance in the borough.” You go Anjou, keeping the squirrel love alive.
Of course, none of this means that much unless time is actually taken to enforce these bylaws against acts of squirrel-love (that sounds way creepier than I wanted to, but I'm going with it). For the most part, that doesn't seem to be the case, but there are exceptions, as the recent doling out of fines has showcased.
Still, the fact that we have to even be slightly worried about extending a edible gift of friendship to the bushy-tailed critters that make Montreal even more magical is something of a problem in our books. No one should be reprimanded for helping a squirrel out.
Unfortunately, Squirrel Girl was not available to comment on this straining of squirrel-human relations, but no doubt she would be displeased.