Skunks keeping trappers busy in Windsor

One local company receives five calls about skunks every day in Windsor. City council approved $80,000 to deal with Windsor's rising skunk population.

Council approved $80,000 to deal with Windsor's skunk problem

Licensed trapper Ted Foreman fields five calls a day from Windsor residents dealing with a skunk problem.

He said his company, Bob's Animal Control, which he co-owns with his son Bob, usually responds to calls about raccoons more than skunks in an average year.

"And so far this year, skunks are in the lead," he said.

Foreman, like Windsor city council, said skunks are a growing problem in the city. He said people are trapping skunks themselves and dumping them on the west end, near Ojibway Park and Brighton Beach.

Provincial law prohibits people — other than licensed trappers — from killing a skunk or relocating one more than a kilometre from where it was trapped.

Foreman tries his best to relocate the skunks he traps, but said he must have the permission of a property owner to do so.

"Not too many want them released, to tell you the truth. People don’t want to give their neighbour their problem," he said.

So he often euthanizes them, which he said is the best option available when the city has a skunk problem.

"You’ll never get rid of them and you want to clean up the city," Foreman said.

Council wants to clean up the city, too. It approved $80,000 to deal with the problem, but it's not clear how it will be spent.

Coun. Fulvio Valentinis thinks a trap-and-release program would be difficult because provincial rules mean you can't pick up a skunk and move it more than a kilometre.

"So, if you live in the inner city you can't bring it to Ojibway [Park], so that creates an issue," he said. 

Euthanization is another option.

"The tendency has been that they're euthanized and I know that's one of the issues at the Humane Society; it doesn't feel comfortable in going down that road," Valentinis said. "So we'll have to wait to see in terms for requests for proposals. But the private sector now is doing this on behalf of residents at the residents cost. "

City staff will investigate the options. A report will be prepared for council to make a further decision.

Valentinis expects to have a plan in place this year.

"The whole thing is prevention and no one prevents," Foreman said.

He said skunks aren't smart and it only takes strategically placed wooden planks and patio stones to keep a skunk from getting under decks or porches.

"If there’s no room for them, they’ll go somewhere else," Foreman said.

CBC Windsor's Mike Evans was curious about the skunk population in his Windsor neighbourhood and caught this one on tape last summer.