Are village skunks afflicted with deadly distemper?

— My brother, James, and his wife, Kathy, flew in from California over Labor Day weekend. During their stay, I introduced them to the village’s newest nightspot, the White Water Pub on South Willow Street. After ordering cocktails, we sat at an outdoors table happily basking in the glow of the full moon. Our evening reverie was cut short when a nauseating skunk smell suddenly fouled the fresh night air. We scurried into the indoor bar-room to escape the stench.

Nuisance wildlife

Will the village ever prevail over the nuisance wildlife that constantly debases our quality of life? It’s a question which village officials have long avoided but one which they have finally begun to address.

Village trapper considered

On Aug. 20, Second Street resident Jim Spadafore publicly urged village trustees to hire a trapper dedicated solely to the village. The homeowner had contacted the town of Salina’s animal-nuisance wildlife trapper who was “overwhelmed” by the extent of the skunk problem across the town.

“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,” Spadafore implored.

Mayor Gary White told Spadafore that — early next year when trustees formulate the village’s 2013-14 budget — they would seriously consider hiring a trapper specifically to service village residents.

Rabies or distemper?

Spadafore’s not the only villager with such concerns. His neighbor, Christina Fadden Fitch, worries as much about distemper as she does about rabies. Her family endured a frightening encounter with a skunk behaving oddly during daylight hours near their home on Hiawatha Trail.

“We had an ill skunk in our neighborhood last summer,” Fitch recently wrote in a letter to Mayor White. “My neighbor, John Parker, alerted me he’d seen a skunk about 5 p.m. one day out in daylight which is very odd. 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. Thankfully — since our dog rushed at it but didn't reach it — the skunk didn’t react at all. The skunk moved on, but when I got home around 5:30 eventually both I and my neighbor, Sandy Parker, saw it, and I was able to observe its behavior more.”

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