Thursday, October 02, 2008

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Finally. After several unsuccessful attempts to reduce our skunk population in time for campfire season (those amazingly cool and crisp Oct-Dec weekend nights), my new shiny expensive “Skunker” caught something other than a raccoon.

As dawn broke over the grounds, I walked up to the sprung trap and peered through the viewing slots in the trap door. There he was- a cute and pungent skunk peering back at me.

A friend tipped me off that Williamson County Animal Control will come and pick up trapped skunks and “take care of them” for me. I have a pretty strong hunch what that means, but the prospect of disposing of the skunk myself, and in the process risk becoming a stinking skunk target, was enough to pick up the phone and call the government for help (a recent trend it seems).

I had no idea how finely tuned the system was for taking care of live trapped animals. When I called I spoke to a nice and efficient operator that asked how she could help me. After telling her about the catch she transferred me to a “dispatcher.” After another minute or so describing the situation, I was put on hold while the nearest control officer could be contacted. She patched me through to an officer that was on his rounds not too far from my house. He told me he’d be there within the hour, and I let him know where the trap was since I was headed out for the rest of the morning.

I got a phone call after lunch that my trap was ready to be picked up. I stopped by late in the afternoon after running errands.

The control officer that picked up the skunk told me how much he liked my trap. He hadn’t seen anything like it and wanted to know where I got it ( We chatted for a bit about the merits of the Skunker, how many skunks I’ve seen wandering around our yard (at least 3 more skunks including a massive albino skunk that’s white with a black stripe), and other chit-chat. What we didn’t talk about was the elephant in the room:

I didn’t ask “so, buddy, what did you do with the skunk I gave you?”
And he didn’t reply with something like “oh, yea, that- well, we killed him dead. He won’t be spraying you and your family and friends out by the campfire anytime soon.”
And I didn’t reply “so, how did you kill him?”
And he didn’t respond back with possible techniques like “well, we poisoned him, or shot him, or suffocated him, or …..”

I really didn’t want to know. I didn’t ask. He didn’t tell.

A couple days later I caught another skunk. And despite Tennessee law that stipulates live trapped skunks are not to be released, I couldn’t bear sending the little bugger off to the big house. I strapped the trap onto the back of my truck and drove to a remote area and let him go. And I will continue to do so until we clear the population of stinkers around the house.

If I run into the animal control agent again hopefully he won’t ask me if I’ve caught more skunks. And I won’t tell.


therapydoc said...

These guys are all over my neighborhood (I live near the Chicago River). I'm going to that web site. Thanks.

DigitalRich said...

Good to hear from you TherapyDoc- been a while. Hope you pick up a Skunker. Its been fun to catch and release the racoons too.