PETA is raising quite a stink over Windsor's skunk problem.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has inundated members of Windsor City Council with emails asking them to not trap and kill skunks in the city.
Council on March 5 approved spending $80,000 this year on a skunk removal program, that most likely will see the majority of the animals killed.
In a post entitled 'Urge Windsor, Ontario, to Halt Skunk Killing!' on its website, PETA lists the email addresses of all Windsor councillors.
"Copy and paste this list into your "To" field," reads the post.
Coun. Al Maghnieh said he received 150 emails in a 24-hour span Thursday and Friday this week. He's one of the councillors who voted against the idea.
'It's a Windsor issue'
"It’s understandable that they’re passionate about animals. But it’s a Windsor issue and we’re dealing with it," Maghnieh said.
PETA wildlife biologist Jodi Minion wrote to Mayor Eddie Francis not long after the council's decision.
"They made their position known," Maghnieh said. "So they don’t need to bomb our in-boxes from all over Canada."
The subject fields of some emails read "Halt Skunk Killing!" and "Animal Cruelty!"
"Our alerts are very effective," said Stephanie Bell, PETA's associate director of animal cruelty investigations.
Coun. Drew Dilkens said he simply dismisses the emails if they aren't from a person living in his ward. He received one from Germany on Friday.
"When you get hundreds of form emails, with very little difference from people who don’t live in the area, they have less weight than one email from someone from the area," Dilkens said. "I know you want to protect the skunks but you don’t live here. You’re not helping solve the problem."
Dilkens said he can't recall a single phone call he's received in protest of council's decision.
"We believe they will hear from people in their jurisdiction," Bell said.
PETA on its website said it politely urges Windsor officials to "toss their skunk-eradication program."
If trapping is insisted upon, at the very least officials should ensure that trapped animals are not drowned and will be euthanized humanely.
PETA said relocation isn't humane or legal.
However, it is legal in Ontario to relocate a skunk within one kilometre of where it's trapped. And licensed trappers can move skunks anywhere, as long as they have the permission of a property owner to drop them off. Trappers can also euthanize the skunks.
Dilkens said he's not even sure the city will kill the skunks.
"Council approved moving forward with a skunk eradication program but we have no other details," he said.
Maghnieh said local reaction has been split on the decision.
"The bottom line is address the root causes," Maghnieh said."This is just a symptom of a much bigger problem."
Those problems include boarded up houses on the city's west side and available trash left out overnight.
Bell said the most humane deterrent is regulating a skunk's food source.
"Targeting the food supply does the trick in the long run," Bell said.
Bell said motion-activated lights and sprinklers also scare the animals away. She skunks also hate the smell of ammonia.