Tehachapi woman has trouble getting help with dying skunk

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Patricia Young of Tehachapi was just headed out to feed the hummingbirds Wednesday morning, but when she opened her door, she got a bit of a surprise - a skunk.

"The skunk was lying here in my flower bed, and he wasn't dead," said Young.

The skunk, and the smell, was hard to ignore.

"Everybody knows skunk," said Young. "It's pretty nauseating, and when you can't get away from it, it's horrible."

Young's first instinct was to call Kern County Animal Control, but officials told her they would not pick it up.

"The first one I called was Animal Control, and they told me they did not do skunks, and I said, 'You don't check for rabies?' They said, 'No.'"

Young is concerned the skunk is rabid. She doesn't understand why Animal Control won't help.

"This is still a live animal, and I would think they'd pick him up and test him," she said.

Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman for California Fish and Wildlife, said Animal Control won't help because it's not its problem.

"They deal with domestic animals, dogs, cats, birds - animals of that nature," Mackey said.

Mackey said Young should have called Fish and Wildlife or the Wildlife Services Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

She said the proper agency to call depends on where you live.

"In more rural areas, Fish and Wildlife and the USDA Wildlife Services would probably be your best bet," she said.

Mackey advised to practice caution when dealing with wild animals.

"The best thing to do is to give them their space. Don't let people go up and gawk at them, let them be quiet, let them have space, and call the proper authorities," she said.

Young was eventually able to have the skunk removed when Western Exterminator stopped by for a routine visit.

If you'd like to contact USDA Wildlife Services, call 1-866-4USDAWS, or call (559) 243-4005 ext. 151 for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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