HAMILTON - An investigation into a badly injured muskrat found in a diaper box by an Ontario lake has ended with no criminal charges laid.
Ontario Provincial Police had been looking into the circumstances that prompted three teens to drop off the wounded animal in a Huggies box on the shore of Rice Lake in Gores Landing, Ont., on Monday evening.
The muskrat was taken to a wildlife rescue facility by a bystander, and later to a veterinarian for treatment, but died earlier this week. Online posts detailing the rodent's story were shared thousands of times on Facebook.
On Friday, police said they'd identified the teens involved and determined there was no criminal behaviour.
They say the three youths had found the injured muskrat earlier in the day, taken it home, and tried to contact a local animal shelter for help.
When they were not successful, police said the teens followed a parent's advice and returned the muskrat to the shoreline in the hopes that it would be found by its mother and nursed back to health.
Police say they have not ruled out the fact that the muskrat could have been injured due to a confrontation with another animal.
The Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue centre in Bowmanville, Ont., which cared for the muskrat, had started a GoFundMe page to pay for the animals' vet bills, raising nearly $3,400. After the muskrat died, the centre said the funds would go to paying for a detailed autopsy on the rodent.