Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Smelly Dilemma

We recently discovered we have a skunk problem. 

One of our neighbors has a cat that has been roaming the neighborhood for years.  I've written about him before, and you can read about the cat we call Moose, here.  When he comes by for a visit, we will often put a small bowl of dry kitty food by the front step.  We know we have skunks around because we smell them in the neighborhood from time to time, and I learned from experience as a kid that cat food attracts skunks.  We have tried to be careful to pick up the food before we go in the house for the night, but it was left out a few times.

A few days ago, at dusk, I remembered to ask if the cat food had been brought in.  Chad went out to check, and came flying back into the house.  He had just come face to face with a skunk having some dinner!  Amazed that the skunk didn't spray him, he watched through the screen door as it quickly waddled off.  Ugh.  Now I felt obligated to do something about this critter we'd obviously trained to come up to the house.

Animal Control has been warning residents of skunk problems this summer, and has asked for help in trapping them.  Our county has a high rate of rabies in skunks, so it's really not safe to have them in neighborhoods.  I know it is best to remove the skunk, but it is hard for me to be the one to instigate the killing of this wild critter.  I wrestled with whether to call and request a trap, be hypervigilant about the cat food, or simply stop giving Moose a snack when he visits.  In the end, I knew the skunk would keep showing up to look for food, and I was worried about the safety of all the animals and people in the neighborhood, and called for the trap.

I was sorry when we discovered this morning that we had caught a skunk.  That meant the run-in Chad had the other night wasn't a fluke.  Following the instructions that came with the trap, I called right away for it to be picked up.  I was told it could be awhile, and I explained that the skunk was trapped right by our front steps, and that the sun was on the trap.  Knowing we were in for a very hot day, I didn't want the skunk to suffer in the heat, and I also didn't want anyone coming to the front door to get a nasty surprise.  I was told that they understood, but there were "a lot of animals in traps today" and they'd get to it when they could.  Five hours after I called, someone finally showed up and collected the trap, skunk and all.

I know it was the right thing to do, but it sure is hard on my heart.  I hope I never have to do something like this again.  I think Moose may just have to understand why he doesn't get a free snack when he visits here now, just lots of love and pets.

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