Aug 28, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
In August 2008, several Third Street residents appeared before the Liverpool Village Board to complain about skunks inundating the neighborhood.
Mayor Gary White, who was then a trustee, acknowledged the problem. “Typically skunks are nocturnal,” White said then, “but now we’re seeing them out in bright daylight, which makes me worry about rabies.”
As they’ve done for decades, however, village officials urged the troubled residents to utilize the trapping program administered by the town of Salina. It cost $16 for each resident to have traps set.
In April 2011 in two separate incidents, Liverpool Police officers shot and killed two skunks which had been behaving strangely in village yards in broad daylight. One animal was dispatched behind a house on Oswego Street, while another was killed a few blocks away on Sixth Street.
Now, skunks have infested Second Street.
Second St. infested
“I’ve lived here 20 years and I’ve never seen it this bad,” resident Jim Spadafore told village trustees at their Aug. 20 meeting. Spadafore lives on Second Street between Iroquois Lane and Council Place.
“It’s a really big problem this year,” he said. “It’s like an explosion all along Second Street.”
In an Aug. 17 letter to the mayor, Spadafore said he has spent more than $1,000 on skunk removal over the years. “So I have to ask the question, what are we doing as a community to rid the village of skunks?”
Salina’s animal-nuisance wildlife trapper told Spadafore that he is “overwhelmed” by the extent of the skunk problem across the town. As a result, the trapper is unable to prioritize village properties threatened by skunks.
“The quality of life for my family is being compromised,” wrote Spadafore, a recently retired local educator. “I think it’s time for the village of Liverpool to hire their own trapper before a wild animal with rabies attacks a child or a pet.”
At the Aug. 20 meeting White promised Spadafore, “We’ll definitely consider it,” and the mayor instructed Village Clerk Mary Ellen Sims to make a note of the complaint. During its budget process next spring, White said, the village will see what it can do.
Town trapper ‘overwhelmed’
Trustee Nick Kochan pointed out that part of the problem in 2008 involved a Third Street neighbor who was allegedly feeding the skunks, a practice strongly discouraged by wildlife experts. Backyard compost heaps also attract foraging wildlife.
Four years ago, Trustee Dennis Hebert, who lives on Third Street, experienced personal confrontations with skunks on his property.
“My real concern is for the small children living next door,” the trustee said. “Sooner or later, someone’s going to get bit.”
Often referred to as polecats, skunks are among nature’s most despised creatures because, as a defense mechanism, they discharge a nauseating musk from their anal glands. Skunks are capable of spraying their musk several times with accuracy to about 10 feet.
Persistent predators, skunks will hunt and kill mice and small rabbits and will tear up lawns in their constant search for grubs and other subsoil insects. Their digging activities can cause severe damage to gardens and yards.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 1,494 cases of rabies in skunks in the United States during the year 2006, and that figure has risen in intervening years.
After policemen killed two skunks here last year, the village attempted to have the carcasses tested for rabies, White said, but county agencies declined. “We had a similar response when we were finding dead crows all over the place,” the mayor said. “There should be more concern at the county level.”
Until the village decides to employ its own trapper, Liverpool homeowners plagued by skunks have only one recourse: to call the town of Salina at 451-4210 to request the services of its animal-nuisance wildlife trapper.