Bronx residents raise stink over skunk problem

January 20, 2010 3:05:08 PM PST
It's not unusual to see skunks outside the city. But to see them at an apartment complex in the Bronx is quite unusual. And it has some people who live there keeping a close look every time they go outside. In the Throgs Neck Houses, police patrol on mounted horses. Seeing a sleeping cat is normal. A squirrel is normal. And even a nest of green parrots is normal.

"It's like a wildlife preserve here," resident Bruce Ruiz said.

And now, unfortunately for residents, skunks are normal too. Ruiz has to be careful when he walks his dog at night.

"In the night, when the sun goes down, they come out," he said. "You can smell them. You can smell the spray of the skunks."

The black and white menaces showed up in the housing development a few years ago. Since then, they have reproduced.

"We have skunks all over the place," resident Maria Robles said. "We have the whole family, the baby, the mother, the uncles, the grandma. I mean huge ones. They're bigger than cats."

Residents believe they may have come from a nearby construction site. Skunks are routinely spotted rummaging through the garbage and recycling bins at night.

"My girlfriend Anna, her dog and her were skunked one time," Robles said. "They've been sprayed. She had to wash the dog with tomato juice and everything."

Residents believe they live in a hole in the ground.

"I was coming from work like around 9 p.m., and I noticed a big fluffy skunk just go in the ground," resident Rashard Francis said.

At this point, the city hasn't received any official complaints about the skunks. And officials say that unless the animals are aggressive or injured, they can't do much about them.

But residents say they are aggressive, and they want something done.

"They're very aggressive," Robles said. "They follow you into the building, not follow, but really chase you."

Apparently, out-running skunks is now just a way of life.