Skunks Rampant In East Texas Town - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/25/06-Gilmer

Skunks Rampant In East Texas Town

Skunks plague an East Texas town, coming out from the woodworks for food and water. The City of Gilmer has been experiencing a rash of skunks lately, making their way throughout town. Folks say they've caught them under garages, in tool sheds, outside restaurants, and even near the High School.

"They're pretty well all over," says Animal Control Officer Wayne Pope. He says he's caught nearly 30 skunks around town recently--an unusually high number. "The reason they're coming out is because of the dry weather, they're normally a nocturnal animal but they will come out now because it's so dry they're looking for food and water," he says.

Something Pope says is pretty easy to find around a high school.  "We have a number of children, like people, they'll throw their candy bars down or they're throw their sandwich down and that's what the skunks are looking for is something to eat," he says.

In fact, school employees say they've caught about 20 around the school. "They've taken a very aggressive approach to that. They're doing a lot to capture those skunks and relocate them," Pope says.

But it's not just students or teachers noticing the problem--it seems the whole town is. Long-time resident Debbie Ledbetter says, "We can smell them under the house a lot and all up and down the street, there's a lot of woods area back in there and they're all back in there."

Loyce Bowens, also a Gilmer resident, says, "The lady next door told me they were real bad.  'Keep the kids in the house' and that's what I've been doing."

Sound advice considering so far this year, Animal Control has found two rabid skunks in the county. "If you see a skunk don't mess with it. Just stay away from it. That skunk may or may not have rabies, just be careful with them, don't mess with them."

And call Animal Control. They will take care of any skunks rummaging around town. Officer Pope also says it's very important to have your animals vaccinated for rabies just in case they get bit by a rabid skunk.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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