Family skunked over what to do with trapped animal

DENVER -- A Denver family said their options stink after skunks overran their backyard.

"First thing in the morning we'll smell them right outside our windows,” Sean Fralick said. “I mean it's a constant thing.”

Skunks have sprayed him, his house and his dog several times. So he set a live trap to try to get rid of them.

But once a skunk's been live-trapped, most pest removal companies can't touch it because it's federal regulations.

And because skunks carry disease, they can't be relocated off a property.

“Stand and getting sprayed couple or three times before you've finally had enough,” Fralick said. “You know the dog stinks bad enough. I don't need to be stinking too. "

After hours on the phone, he and pregnant girlfriend Kari found out once you trap the skunk, no agency will take it.

“I could pay somebody to come out and remove it,” Kari said. “Or I could find out ways to humanely kill it. I don't want to kill it.”

She called several agencies, including pest control companies.

"They told me that being as we trapped it that it was our problem,” she said. “The city wasn't going to come get it, the Humane Society, nobody was going to come get it that they would charge us. It was going to be $295.”

Colorado statute says you can kill a skunk if it has become a threat to your pets or your property, but the city told them they can't fire a weapon or a bow and arrow in city limits.

They were told they'd face fines or worse for trapping and releasing a skunk off the property because they spread rabies.

“I was in tears by the time this was all said and done,” Kari said.

“She was,” Fralick said. "I was upset. I don't understand. You have urban wildlife rescue or whatever it's called and they won't come rescue the animal.”

The couple was stuck with a trapped skunk and not many options, but on Tuesday night, Rapid Pest Control in Broomfield arrived and took care of the skunk "with no problems.

"He was a pleasure to work with and we are grateful for his help as well," the couple said in an email.

Jason Flores, who owns the company, said a mild winter has helped skunk populations explode this summer.

Flores said homeowners need to try to remove three key items from around their property that attract skunks: Food, shelter and water. Those include dog dishes, standing brush or tall weeds and trash.