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Getting Rid of A Dead Skunk, Stinks

July 14, 2015

streetThe sun was breaking over the horizon, bringing a golden glow to the street. The sound of the waves breaking on the shore provided  amusical backdrop. The air still as the wind had yet to stir. There in the middle of the street, a dead skunk. During the hours before light broke through the night, this small fluffy, black and white creature who had been foraging, had tried to simply cross the road. Fate had placed him/her in the path of an oncoming motorist, oblivious to the destructive power of a two ton vehicle.

Now the creature lay still, an impediment to the flow of morning traffic as drivers had to veer to keep from causing further damage to the lifeless body. As the sun rose higher and the day warmed, the odor from this poor soul began to waft, bringing awareness to its fate. By noon the fragrance was strong enough it began to permeate through open windows into the homes lining the quiet neighborhood. As windows were shut and the day grew warmer it seemed no one cared about the poor dead animal lying just outside their doors.

I had recently been introduced to and downloaded an app called Citizen Connect. It’s a service provided by Santa Cruz County to report problems, register to vote, pay taxes, or get information about county services.  Going to the section on problems, I looked for a way to report the dead skunk. The list of reportable problems included abandoned vehicles, dead birds, pests, standing water, environmental issues, graffiti, illegal dumping, potholes, and illegal grow. I am assuming this last one meant marijuana and not uncontrolled ivy.  Nowhere on the list was a category for dead skunks. I clicked on dead birds and added the location info with a message that this was a skunk.  After about an hour there was no response from the check status section, nor had anyone called.

My next step was to Google getting rid of a dead skunk which led me to Animal Control. I called the main number and after patiently waiting through the automated message, I hit the appropriate menu selection. After about 15 rings and no answer, I looked at the web site again, and started dialing individual numbers for the different department heads.  The general manager’s number went to voice mail, the field officer’s number said it was no longer valid.

It was time to call the sheriff. When the dispatcher answered, I explained the issue and asked who should I call  to remove the skunk. The officer was very understanding and gave me the number for the County Road Department. I called them and was told they did not deal with dead animals because of the possibility of disease. They suggested I call Animal Control.

Going back on Google to Animal Control, I finally found a number to report roadkill. Dialing that number produced a voice mail, so I left a message as to where the skunk still lay and added that it was an additional hazard as cars were having to veer around it into oncoming traffic. It was now about 2pm.

Around 4pm I opened the door and sniffed. The skunk was still there.  Around 4:45pm the odor had dissipated. I looked  and the creature was  gone. Who actually removed it, I have no idea but it had been disposed of and the air was clear.

All of this happened on a Friday. On Monday I got a call from Citizen Connect regarding my report. I explained that it had all been taken care of, after having made numerous calls to the different agencies, The man from CC said they did not deal with dead skunks and that I should call the County Road Department. I explained that I had and told him their answer as to why they don’t pick up dead animals. I told him that Animal Control actually is the place to call, even though I never did connect with anyone. He said he was glad it was resolved and glad that Citizen Connect was able to help. He said goodbye and hung up before I could react to that.

Who removed the skunk? I have no idea, but if sadly, this ever happens again, I will simply grab my shovel, a couple of garden trash bags and remove it myself.  Oh, and a pair of disposable gloves so I don’t get infected by any “disease” it might be carrying. While the skunk may give off a pungent aroma, it is nothing compared to the stench of dealing with government bureaucracy.



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