“We’d be 20 miles from shore and find balloons floating out there on the water,” she says, explaining that a floating balloon with streamers looks much like a jellyfish with tentacles.“We used to scoop them up out of the water and had balloons with logos from as far away as Ohio.“We sedated him and took the cans off his hands, which were nothing but raw flesh anymore.

“In the case of raptors, the garbage attracts rodents, and then the bird goes after this prey and gets hit by a car.” Trash can also create conflict between people and hungry wild marauders.

In Connecticut, two raccoons scrounging in a garbage bin were cruelly dealt with by the owners of a dry cleaning store, says Laura Simon, field director of The HSUS’s Urban Wildlife Program.

At that point, the woman dropped the squirrel and came to the emergency department.

Said squirrel probably then limped to the fridge, got a beer and sat down to watch the Cubs lose again.

“The majority of what we see is casual garbage, the things that are cast off on the side of the road—the convenience food, wrappers, and bottles,” says Robbie Fearn, director of The HSUS’s Cape Wildlife Center in Cape Cod, Mass.

“For years, I would throw my apple cores and other food out the window of my car, thinking it’s going to compost and go back into the wild, never considering the fact it’s actually drawing animals who might then get hit by a car.” This roadside garbage has a domino effect, Fearn says.

“This is the beginning of their life and it’s just heartbreaking to have to euthanize a young animal because of fishing line,” she says.

Turtles and birds who ingest hooks also face a grim outcome.

They come in all wrapped up in fishing wire.” Pelicans typically have a high rehabilitation success rate, but hooks that pierce joints cause untreatable infections.