A Toronto man was arrested early Wednesday morning after baby raccoons were allegedly attacked, police said.

Just before 6 a.m. police were called to Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue with a report of a man in his backyard hitting baby raccoons over the head with a spade or shovel, police said.

Neighbours called police because of the noise.

"While this man was hitting the raccoons with a shovel, the mother raccoon was taking the other injured babies away," Const. Victor Kwong said, citing witness reports. "As for the other baby raccoons, we don't know (how they are) because the mother took them away."

Kwong said a baby raccoon was severely injured and it originally appeared the animal would have to be put down.

Fiona Venedam, a supervisor with Toronto Animal Services,said the two-month-old raccoon will survive and has been taken to a wildlife rehabilitation centre to recover from some broken toes.

Dong Nguyen, 53, has been charged with cruelty to animals and weapons dangerous. He was released and will appear in court July 13.

Raccoons are common visitors to most downtown neighbourhoods, especially during the night and in the early morning.

Toronto Animal Services says while raccoons have adapted to city life, they can be dangerous when the come into conflict with property owners and residents.

Using poison, firearms or certain types of traps to capture or kill raccoons could result in criminal charges and fines of up to $5,000. An animal cruelty conviction could results in as much as two years in prison.

With files from The Canadian Press