By David Wade

FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – Beaver dams in Framingham are causing big problems. The city calls it a public safety emergency and is euthanizing the animals.

That has some people crying animal cruelty, but city officials say they have no choice. The problem is road flooding, leading to dangerous, icy conditions in two areas of Framingham.

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“The beavers are certainly the cause of it, but it’s been exacerbated by the amount of precipitation we’ve had,” says Rob McArthur, Framingham’s Conservation Administrator.

Beaver dam in Framingham (WBZ-TV)

The first area is off Salem End Rd. where a beaver dam has resulted in flooding downstream on Singletary Lane. “I’d say five times within the last three weeks, they’ve blocked the road off. I’ve been here 10 years and I’ve never seen the water that high,” says resident Mark Wenner.

The second area is at the end of Crosby Circle. The beavers have been busy, gnawing trees and flooding Baiting Brook. “To the point where it’s risen over a sewer line,” says McArthur.

Signs warn about flooding in Framingham caused by beavers (WBZ-TV)

That overburdens the sewage system. It’s so bad the city calls it a public safety emergency and is taking drastic action. “The beavers are trapped in, basically, cage type traps and they’re euthanized,” says McArthur.

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Why not relocate the beavers? State law forbids that because it just moves the problem to someone else’s neighborhood.

Some organizations are firmly against killing the beavers. The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says in a statement: “Declaring a war against beavers for simply doing what beavers do is cruel and foolish.”

Tree chewed by beaver in Framingham (WBZ-TV)

The MSPCA adds: “Trapping beavers simply opens up the habitat to new beaver populations, and so must be repeated.”

Both groups say there are alternatives like putting pipes or metal mesh through the dams so water can flow. But the Conservation Administrator says those fixes take time.

“Both situations were such that they had to be dealt with as emergency situations,” McArthur says.

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City officials say their recent actions are short term, and they will work on long term solutions that don’t involve killing the beavers.

David Wade