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COMMUNITY NEWS / Covering Orange County's 33 Cities

La Palma

October 19, 2000|Tina Borgatta, (714) 966-5982

The topic of skunks brought more than a dozen angry residents to City Hall on Tuesday night, some saying the wild critters are causing damage to their homes by burrowing under foundations and scraping at stucco.

It's a problem La Palma officials began researching a month ago, when the City Council asked staff to find out what can be done about the skunk population in town. And some residents didn't like what they heard.

"If people hire a trapper, the contractor can catch the skunks and release them somewhere far away," said Tami Piscotty, a city spokeswoman. "But it all comes down to money, and many of the residents don't want to have to pay for it."

The other alternative is to call the county's animal control department, which will send out an officer to trap the skunk, and then the agency will euthanize it.

"People were shocked," Piscotty said. "They were saying, 'What? You're going to kill them?' But let's say the skunk has lived in La Palma for a year. It knows the area. It knows where its food sources are. They're used to things here. So if you catch it and take it to Riverside, chances are the animal's going to die--the predators will get at it."

Keeping pet food and water inside the house will help keep the wild animals away, as will placing bottles of diluted ammonia in the yard. If that doesn't help, the county suggests residents contact Sgt. Eric Grove through the animal control office at (714) 935-6848. Grove will visit each home and assess the situation. If it turns out the animal is causing property damage, the agency will set a trap.

The council has asked city staff to monitor the situation and report back in two months on any progress.

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