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Wheatfield supervisor says skunks not stinking up town

By Bob Cliffe

A surfeit of skunks visit a home in search of tasty treats. Although beautiful to behold, they can be an unpleasant guest when frightened.

I read the article in the Reporter "Skunks and Other Displaced Wildlife Overrun Parts of Wheatfield" with great interest as this is the first I have heard about an abnormal infestation of skunks.

I'm pleased that it was a straightforward article which brought out all sides of this important issue.

I admit to some surprise with the "overrun" comment as I had only two nuisance animal calls come to my attention this year: one having to do with skunks at a home, and one having to do with coyotes.

Please understand that "Nuisance Animal Control" was not cut for lack of funds. We terminated nuisance animal control in 2010 when I found that the town could not lawfully trap and move or euthanize skunks unless we hired a DEC licensed "Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer" (NWCO). To the best of my knowledge the town has never had one; and if such activities were taking place they would have been illegal.

When I looked into this problem, I could not find any other town which had a licensed officer on staff. When warranted, the town hires a professional to handle an urgent health problem. The Board could hire a licensed NWCO to kill high numbers of wild animals, but unless the problem becomes a health concern, I don't believe it is the responsibility of the town to terminate wildlife.

Wheatfield has huge areas of wetlands and woodlands as well as farm fields, all of which support wildlife. With a couple of thousand acres of wetlands and woods behind your home, it is not surprising that people would find wildlife in their yards.

Skunks eat worms and grubs; your shrubs or garden may be a food source right in your own yard. There are inexpensive actions which you can take which will cut down on these food sources. You may find these on the DEC website, or contact Wild Kritters of Niagara County for additional help.

If wildlife is a major concern for you or your neighbors, please give me a call and I'll be happy to meet with you to discuss possibilities. Rest assured that, should excessive wildlife become a health concern, the town will take whatever action is necessary and lawful to bring it back to the environment we love to call home.



Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jan 08 , 2013