Upper Manhattan’s skunk infestation is starting to really cause a stink. According to Washington Heights and Inwood residents, the black and white critters were first spotted around 2010 and have begun tearing up garbage bags and spewing their noxious chemicals on naturally curious dogs. With more skunk sightings this year than before, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez is finally calling for a crackdown on these odorous creatures.
To help combat the booming population of skunks, Rodriguez is pleading for help from three city agencies. Thus far, the response hasn’t been quick. The Parks Department says it isn’t a problem that city workers will even touch unless the animals have rabies, after which it becomes an issue for park rangers or Animal Care and Control. The latter organization, meanwhile, states that not a single skunk has tested positive for rabies in Manhattan since 1991. The Department of Sanitation also isn’t budging at all to move back its garbage collection time to prevent trash from sitting idle in the street overnight.
While this administrative loop of “this isn’t my responsibility, it’s somebody else’s” is going on, Upper Manhattanites say that skunks are only growing bolder. Apparently, the little stinkers have even become brash enough to meet up around the New Leaf Restaurant in gangs awaiting food. In an interview with The Daily News, the head of the Orange County-based Wildlife Nuisance Removal Service Thomas Herrmann says he’s seen a 20 percent increase in the skunk population since last year.