LOCAL NEWS

West Jordan neighborhood at wit’s end over ‘infestation’ of skunks, raccoons

Sep 13, 2022, 7:58 PM

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A West Jordan neighborhood says they’re experiencing a nuisance infestation that has them at their wit’s end in their own homes. They say skunks are spraying dogs and raccoons are wandering the streets.

Neighbors want something done to help the problem, and they’re hoping the city can step in.

In Amanda Ray’s backyard north of Sierra Newbold Park, fall harvest isn’t going to plan.

She spent some of the day tearing out her tomato and cucumber plants, despite the fact that she’s still waiting for some to ripen.

“I’m sad to rip them out because they’re just about ready; see how there’s a lot of them turning,” she said, pointing over to the tomatoes. “I’m going to rip out the cucumbers.”

Ray wants them gone because she’s worried about what else has been enjoying her garden lately. She’s been finding skunks hiding in the garden early in the morning and getting into tussles with her two dogs.

“They just keep coming, and they just keep coming, and they just keep coming,” she said. “And it went from a small problem to an infestation, is what our other neighbor called it.”

She and several other neighbors told KSL that families of skunks and raccoons have been making the rounds through the area over the past couple months, creating a problem that really stinks.

“It’s dog after dog getting sprayed in their yards,” Ray explained. “Mine got sprayed, the neighbors got sprayed, up street at least three dogs have been sprayed.”

Typically in the morning, Ray lets her dogs out to use the bathroom. But they keep ending up in confrontations with skunks, so now, she has to check the yard and walk around before letting them outside. One dog has been sprayed twice. Both were sprayed a week ago in the most recent incident.

She described how she tried several products and home remedies to get rid of the smell. It took a couple weeks, several baths, and the pups sleeping in the garage before they were OK again.

Sarah Armes, who lives just up the street from Ray, said her dog was also sprayed by a skunk while being let out in the backyard. She said several neighbors have been finding skunks or raccoons walking through their backyards, sleeping under sheds, digging under fences, and making their homes in window wells.

Armes called West Jordan Animal Control, but she indicated they told her wild animals don’t fall under the jurisdiction of animal control.

“They won’t do anything for skunks or raccoons,” Armes said. “So a private pest control said they’d come out for about $300 and trap like one skunk.”

That cost could add up to quite a bill, depending on how many animals are trapped. But Armes worries they’ll just keep coming.

“Meanwhile, they’re literally reproducing, and there’s families of skunks walking down the street,” Armes said.

West Jordan City Director of Public Information Tauni Barker explained that their animal control and services division is set up to take care of domesticated animals and address issues with ordinances.

Wildlife animals are a different issue, she said.

However, the city plans to look at how to address nuisance animals like raccoons and skunks, Barker added.

“The city is looking into different options to contract with wildlife resources to come and manage those in the city for us,” she said.

That can be tricky, she continued, because a contract would cost a lot of money.

Barker expects the city council to start discussions on the matter in mid-October.

One component to the issue both Barker and neighbors said is making things worse: People leaving out cat food for stray or feral cats.

A plastic container was discovered near the splash pad, in the bushes of a dry creek bed. Cat food filled one side, while hours-old milk that developed a film on the top filled the other.

“Bless their hearts. They think they’re doing a wonderful service for the city and for their neighbors, and in fact, they are attracting these raccoons and skunks right into the neighborhoods,” Barker said.

Not only is Ray hoping that’ll stop, she wants to see the city take action.

“Please just stop,” she pleaded to the people worsening the nuisance animal situation. “Just let us have our yards back.”

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West Jordan neighborhood at wit’s end over ‘infestation’ of skunks, raccoons