03/10/2015 06:34 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT

Dead squirrels in Montreal neighbourhood spark outrage

People in the Montreal neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce took to the Internet to express their shock and disdain after seeing dead squirrels hanging from a trap on the front wall of a house.

“It’s horrible. I don't want to see an animal in a trap in general. I never thought I would, let alone on the front of somebody's house in a very nice area,” said NDG resident Arielle Day.

Day was out taking a walk when she came across the sight.

The homeowners told CBC News they called in an exterminator after squirrels found their way inside and were causing serious damage. CBC agreed not to reveal their identities because they have received threats and fear for their safety.

CBC contacted several extermination companies, who each had a different interpretation of the law. Some said the practice was legal.

According to an inspector at Quebec’s wildlife ministry, snap traps are legal — but only as a last resort.

The ministry says homeowners must first try to discourage the animals, or catch and release them into the wild.

Some professionals recommend installing one-way doors at the entry point.

“Think of it as a platform with a lever, and once the squirrel puts weight on it, it goes through it, clears the door and it closes behind it...Very simple way to get rid of a squirrel without having to stress it or harm it,” said Chris Grabas, manager at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control.

SPCA investigates

SPCA Montréal is investigating the case, and says it may take further action.

"If we can demonstrate that the person caused unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal, they could be subject to criminal charges," said AlannaDevine, SPCA Montréal’s director of animal advocacy.

Meanwhile, a photo of the dead squirrel went viral on Facebook — with someone posting the address.

The homeowners, who said they’ve since received angry phone calls and threats, filed a complaint with police against the people who posted their address on social media.