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Village trustees hear more complaints about skunks

— 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].”

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