Sep 25, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
For the second month in a row, a resident’s complaint about skunks opened the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 17.
Martha Ours, who lives on Oswego Street, said the animals have proliferated there because a neighbor “puts out food for them 365 days a year.” The animals are “negatively impacting my property,” she said.
For five nights in a row this summer, Ours witnessed several skunks seeking food outside her neighbor’s house just before dusk.
Wildlife experts strongly discourage feeding skunks. The sharp-toothed carnivores will routinely tear apart plastic trash bags.
Ours had two specific recommendations to address the growing problem. She asked trustees to revise the village code to prohibit the feeding of wildlife, except birds; and to require that trash bags be enclosed inside secure containers.
Trustee Bob Gaetano, who lives on Birch Street, recently learned that plastic trash cans weren’t quite secure enough. “Skunks ate right through the tops of my trash can,” he reported. Gaetano told Ours that he would discuss the matter with village DPW Superintendent Bill Asmus.
Cypress Street resident Pam Carey said squirrels have chewed through three of her trash cans.
“Bob, you need to get a metal can,” Carey advised. “I finally got a metal trash can.”
Mayor Gary White reminded Ours that at their Aug. 20 meeting the trustees had informally agreed to consider hiring a village trapper next spring when the board develops its 2013-14 budget.
The town of Salina’s animal-nuisance wildlife trapper has said he is “overwhelmed” by the magnitude of the skunk infestation town-wide. As a result, the trapper is unable to prioritize village properties threatened by skunks.
“Regardless of feeding or not feeding the skunks, they’re still going to be around,” White said. The mayor mentioned that he personally knew three residents who toss bread crusts and corn on their lawns to attract wildlife. “It’s something we can look at,” White said. “We’ll examine sample laws [from other municipalities].”
Liverpool new and returning police chief, Don Morris, attended the Liverpool Village Board’s Sept. 17 meeting. “It’s a privilege to be back,” he told trustees. “I’m really honored.”
Morris served as the village’s top cop from 1999 to 2007 before resigning to take over as chief of the East Syracuse Police Department. On Aug. 31, Morris returned to Liverpool as its part-time chief replacing Chief Bill Becker. He also remains at the helm in east Syracuse. Each week, he’s putting in 20 hours here and 40 hours in East Syracuse.
One of Morris’ initial goals in Liverpool is to re-implement foot patrols. “We’re going to be parking our cars and walking the beat again,” he said.
The chief reported that during the month of August, LPD officers issued 107 citations for violations of the state’s vehicle and traffic laws and 35 warnings.
Five arrests were made for driving while intoxicated and 11 traffic accidents were investigated last month. The LPD made 17 arrests on 25 criminal charges.
Officers made 125 residential checks during August while investigating a total of 302 complaints.
Village Attorney John Langey pointed out that new ordinances would only be effective if they’re strictly enforced.
At the trustees’ Aug. 20 meeting, Second Street homeowner Jim Spadafore said his family’s quality of life had been “compromised” by skunks. “I’ve lived here 20 years and I’ve never seen it this bad,” Spadafore said.
Skunks destroy lawns and gardens, rip open garbage bags and sometimes spray pets and people. As a defense mechanism, skunks discharge a nauseating musk from their posterior glands. The animals are capable of spraying several times with accuracy to about 10 feet. The village of Liverpool is often awash in the repulsive aroma of skunks.
A subfamily to the weasel family, skunks have been known to carry rabies and have occasionally been diagnosed with distemper.
Earlier this month, Hiawatha Trail homeowner Christina Fadden Fitch wrote to Mayor White to describe her neighborhood’s encounter with a strange skunk. In the summer of 2011, “[It was] out at about 5 p.m. in daylight, which is very odd,” Fitch wrote. “The next day [my daughter] Shannon took our dog out in the backyard, and the skunk was right there acting strangely — circling and rolling over.”
Fitch believes the animal exhibited symptoms of distemper.
In two separate incidents in April 2011, Liverpool Police officers shot and killed two skunks which had been behaving strangely in broad daylight. One animal was killed behind a house on Oswego Street, while another was shot a few blocks away on Sixth Street.