NY1 For You: Washington Heights Residents Say Skunk Problem Stinks
Washington Heights residents are holding their breaths while they wait for the city to find a solution to a serious skunk problem in their neighborhood. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.
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It's a situation that literally stinks for this Washington Heights neighborhood.
"We have a lot of skunks!" says one resident.
"Every night, I usually see a skunk, maybe up to three," says another resident.
"Some nights, like 10," says resident Kiara Duran.
There is a steady stream of skunks roaming the streets in search of food. It's certainly a sight for those in the neighborhood, who say the skunks come from nearby Fort Tryon Park.
NY1 found that the cute creatures are not shy as they ignored our bright lights. The seemingly funny situation is of serious concern to some in the neighborhood, especially dog owners.
"We're trying to avoid them," says resident Sofia Gantvarg. "We go around them and we advise people who are walking the dogs to let them know that there are skunks."
"If the dog gets sprayed in the face, for example, it can affect their vision, it can affect their sensors," says resident Anna Boudakova.
Residents say it's not just the run ins that are unnerving but also the overwhelming smell that sometimes seeps into their apartments.
"When you wake up in the morning, even in your windows, you can smell so potent the smell of skunk," Duran says.
A spokesman for the New York City Parks Department told us the agency does not trap and release skunks in parks since they're in their natural habitat.
He said homeowners have the right to trap wildlife on their property, at their own expense. However, they are encouraged to hire a licensed trapper to remove and release the animals.
He went on to say that skunks can carry rabies so people should not try and trap them themselves.
NY1 contacted Castle Village Owners Cooperation, the management for many of the neighborhood buildings. A spokesman told us they have been employing trappers who have caught numerous skunks and released them up north. However, he said the problem seems to be getting worse and he wishes other buildings in the area would follow suit and hire trappers.
Trash collection is also an issue. The Parks Department spokesman said apartment buildings are encouraged not to put out trash bags until just before pick up in the morning.
Residents hope the measures will help clear the air.