British Columbia

West Kootenay man summons courage to save skunk with beer can stuck to its head

When Michael Jeffery of Nelson, B.C., discovered a skunk stumbling on the road last weekend with its head stuck in an empty beer can that was cut in half, he had a little internal debate about whether he could rescue the animal without getting sprayed.

Michael Jeffery found the animal stumbling on the road near Nelson, B.C.

A skunk stumbling on the road near Taghum Beach west of Nelson, B.C., on Saturday morning posed something of a dilemma for Michael Jeffery. (Michael Jeffery)

To save or not to save a distressed skunk?

It was a pretty big question for Michael Jeffery near Nelson, B.C.

On Saturday morning, the poor animal was found stumbling on the road with a beer can stuck to its head near Taghum Beach — about eight kilometres west of the Kootenay town — where Jeffery was driving on the way to work.

"I think someone had cut off the top of the can, so it's big enough for him to actually get his skull inside," Jeffery told Sarah Penton, the host of CBC's Radio West. "He must have just been going in for a sip of something sweet and delicious."

But Jeffery had quite a struggle between his feelings and rationality when mulling whether to rescue the skunk. 

"My heart's like, 'Oh my God! I really need to help this guy.' And then my head's like, 'Dude, you're going to get sprayed! You're going to work. You work with somebody who's pretty sensitive … You're going to be offensive.' "

A self-employed home care aide, Jeffery kept sitting in his car looking at the suffering animal, trying to conclude his heart-and-head conversation. 

Other drivers passed by, but they just shrugged their shoulders, Jeffery said.

Finally, he took the leap.

'Bold action'

"He started coming closer to me and I just knew it was the time," Jeffery said. "I just jumped in, took some bold action and got the can pried three quarters of the way off his face as gently as I could."

While the skunk was about to shake the can the rest of the way off, Jeffery was already fleeing to avoid the stinky situation.

"In the time I was running, he had aimed his butthole directly at me and had his tail raised, and so he was trying to blast me," he said. "But I was far enough away, fortunately, where it didn't get me.

"When I look back, I just let out this big, 'Wow.' I was so happy for both of us."

Jeffery posted the whole incident on social media later that day.

"Come on Nelson, throw your garbage in the bin!" he wrote on his Facebook post.

According to the B.C. SPCA, skunks are shy and slow-moving nocturnal animals with poor eyesight and may spray when startled or attacked.

The organization asks people not to feed, trap or kill the animals.

LISTEN | Tap the link below to hear Michael Jeffery's interview on Radio West:

Michael Jeffery summoned his courage to rescue a skunk with a beer can stuck on its head 5:52

With files from Radio West

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