City of Windsor staff recommends the city stop trapping skunks.

In a report set to be tabled before council July 21, staff says the program has had “little effect on the skunk population.”

Instead, it says “the population has returned to more normal levels.”

“However, this does not indicate a poor performing program,” the report reads.

The report states skunks were successfully trapped on 13 per cent of the properties serviced by the program.

Council in 2012 approved an additional $80,000 to the 2013 budget in an effort to trap and euthanize skunks, which had become a problem in the city.

The city spent $220,000 of the full $250,000 allocated for the skunk and rat trapping program in its first year, between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.

In total, 48 skunks were tapped and euthanized. The city suspended the program in April due to the birth of the young.

The city says the skunk population ballooned between 2006 and 2013, inclusive.

During the eight-year span, the Humane Society saw an increase in the number of sick, injured or dead skunks it dealt with. In 2006, the Humane Society collected 63 sick, injured or dead skunks. In 2013, the number rose to 296.

But the number of skunks collected by the Humane Society in the latter half of 2013 decreased sharply and only nine have been collected this year.

“The stark drop in sick/injured skunks in the latter part of 2013 and early 2014 indicates the population has returned to more normal levels,” the report says. “The continuation of the trapping program is likely to have no significant impact on the existing population and is not likely to prevent a population spike in the future.”

Staff says the new bylaw which requires residents to use hard-sided garbage containers “will further limit the food resource [for skunks] thereby impacting the sustainable skunk population.”

Council has the option to continue the program, but it comes with “political risk,” the report says.

“Continuing a skunk trapping program will almost certainly elicit an immediate negative reaction from animal rights activists groups,” the report warns.

When council first approved the program, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals inundated members of Windsor City Council with emails asking them to not trap and kill skunks in the city.