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Skunks found a friend last night on the Evanston City Council.

During a Human Services Committee meeting report on the city’s rodent control efforts, Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, suggested she’d like to see the program expanded to include killing the skunks that have been targeting her neighborhood.

But Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, leaped to the mammals‘ defense.

“They eat the grubs in your grass,” Fiske said, “To protect themselves they can smell really bad, but other than that they do no harm.”


Judy Fiske.

Most of the time, Fiske added, there’s no problem with a skunk “unless a dog decides to initiate an interaction” with one.

“There isn’t the same personal risk associated with them as with rats,” she said, adding that she’s “been amazed at how polite some skunks can be when your directly interact with them.”

“If there aren’t enough grubs in the lawn, they move on in two or three days.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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14 Comments

  1. I actually agree with Fiske

    I actually agree with Fiske on this one. Targeting skunks in the same manner we target rodents seems very out of place, cruel almost. 

    1. I agree with Fiske, too
      Fiske is right on this, especially with all the city programs on the chopping block.

      As for Ald. Fleming, after reading the previous story…wow. She is concerned about the feelings of people who choose to do things that get them arrested and cause (sometimes great) harm to our community, but in times of a serious budget deficit, she wants to spend MORE money on skunks that are not a problem to our community.

      Remember this, 9th Warders!

    2. Skunked
      Apparently, you have never gotten skunked. My daughter was once, My dog has learned to stay away- knowing that a bath awaits if she gets sprayed. Perhaps you have never had a skunk take up residence under your front porch. The problem ebbs and flows. Some years, I could not walk the dog at night without running into half a dozen; other years, none. When the population is high, they seem more confrontational, forcing my detour.

      Eliminating skunks is a common good. When I was able to rid my front porch of a skunk family, they wound up under a neighbor’s porch. Ald. Fiske’s comment, “If there aren’t enough grubs in the lawn, they move on in two or three days.” implies that’s it’s OK for the skunk to dig up your yard and then move on to your neighbors’. The City’s response when I discovered rats was excellent; when I reported skunks, I was told to pay for a private exterminator.

      I agree with Ald. Fleming.

      1. Skunks are a nuisance, not a
        Skunks are a nuisance, not a threat to public health like rats. They’re not comparable. It’s not the city’s responsibility to pay for and take care of every nuisance a citizen might encounter. What’s next, demanding they remove yellow jacket nests in houses? City’s gotta pay for removal because they might fly around and sting people? Nah.

        Whatever. At this point any idea Fleming comes up with is automatically a bad idea until proven otherwise. Vote her out.

    3. Skunks
      I agree with Judy Fiske also and thank Kev for his comment in support of Judy’s opinion concerning skunks. It is true that some people have made pets of skunks, apparently getting one at a very young age and having the gland removed by a vet that creates the odor so unpleasant to us. Although
      it might be a most unusual pet for many of us, I understand a pet skunk acts much like a cat. I had a neighbor once who had a pet raccoon. When we read or hear about the very inhumane way that wild animals are destroyed when they move in on “our” territory it is sad.

    4. I live in Fleming’s ward, but
      I live in Fleming’s ward, but agree for the most part with Fiske. Our block had a couple summers where skunk scent was wafting in the windows almost every night – and we’re a non-air conditioning family for the most part. But it really wasn’t that bad. Last summer, there were far fewer skunks around in our hood, but perhaps that’s because they’d moved to other parts of the ward.

      I don’t begrudge people requesting specific skunks be exterminated, but I don’t support a pro-active skunk eradication program. It’s not a public health issue, as rats can be.

    5. Skunks
      I disagree…I love animals but the skunks in my neighborhood have gotten out of control. They have now made a home under the step to my home. I have even been chased by one. So, they do at times attack at people for no apparent reason. I was walking down the sidewalk to my home going to my car and the skunk was in my yard behind me. Threw it’s tail in the air, started shaking it, and charged after me. There are to many in my neighborhood. At times, I’m afraid to let my grandchildren go in the backyard because of them.

  2. Let’s see – Alderman Flemong

    Let’s see – Alderman Flemong wants to protect criminals and execute an innocent animal, which is in the same family as minks and ferrets.  Makes sense to me!

  3. Skunks have a place
    The wildlife has a place here – #firstworldproblems
    Skunks don’t spray unless threatened – walking my dog at night I keep vigilant eye – if the skunk looks like it’s running away and looks back then I’ve got a problem. Uncomfortable, Miserable even and eventually that subsides.
    And as for the lawn…grubs harm your lawn, a little arrogation and removal of the grub.. I say thank you Skunk. It’s much better than pesticides to kill them.

    1. I agree —leave them alone

      We shouldn’t spend public funds to kill animals that aren’t a human health hazard.    Getting sprayed is inconvient, but not especially dangerous.   Also, skunks play a beneficial role in our local ecology.   I would certainly be angry if my alderperson voted to waste money in this cruel way.

  4. They get blamed but…
    I use to think we had a lot of skunks around my building and in my area, letting their smell out.
    But oddly the smell went away within a hour which would be odd for skunks where the smell spreads widely and can last for days sometimes.
    From the Web and talking to policemen, I found their smell is very similar and easy to mistake for marijuana–which smell does die away quickly.

  5. Now she wants to kill our animals.

    Ald Fleming wants us not to know who are criminals are, now she wants to kill our animals.

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