Citizen complaint of the day: The skunk man of East Boston

Skunk man in East Boston

A concerned citizen files a report about this guy on Orleans Street:

This guy feeds skunks/cats EVERY NIGHT just after dusk in the SAME SPOT. This needs to be addressed as there are skunks all over the neighborhood and he leaves food out that draws the animals near housing and people and dogs have gotten sprayed in the area. I know multiple people have complained to the city about this.

Neighborhoods: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Can we say you read WAAAAAY too much

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into what was one of the poorest cartoon series to come from the people at Termite Terrace (Warner Brother's Animation department). Especially where Pepe' never actually got the cat.

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Explains a thing or two.

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Explains a thing or two. Tonight i got a whiff of skunk-stink through my guest bath and kitchen vents, pretty gross. I'm used to waking up in the middle of the night and scrambling to shut all the windows, but who should have to?

My otherwise lovely neighbor harbored a family of skunks in his yard up until the male got run over directly in front of my house. Gag reflex training for a MONTH. Ugggh.

Had a possum come up a chimney during renovations. I came this close to reaching in there because I thought my cat climbed through an access panel and got stuck... Good thing I went back and put on my glasses first.

By all means let's be humane but dear god, do not encourage them.

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Feeding animals

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In Southie there's an elderly woman who feeds squirrels at Marine Park near Farragut Road. She brings a shopping bag filled with bread on a daily basis. She watches as dozens of those "rats with fluffy tails" enjoy a free meal. Is this a crime or nusiance?

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Bread is not ...

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... good for squirrels. She should bring them nuts.

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A nuisance is more like it, but

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squirrels, which are only 1/2 a step up from rats at the most, do carry disease, are not that clean, and can get into everything. That woman had better be careful, or she might end up with way more than she bargained to have, if one gets the drift.

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squirrels

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The only good squirrel is a flat one in the middle of the road!

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I used to live in a

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I used to live in a neighborhood with skunks. Skunks are shy and don't want to be bothered by anything as large as a human or most dogs. They hunted small rodents and scavenged trash from the bins in the neighborhood park. We'd see them at a distance; my husband once warned one off in the park by whistling so it would know he was there. So, don't pet the stripy cat, and keep your dog leashed.

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Interesting. In my experience

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Interesting. In my experience (and in stories I've heard of skunk encounters) they don't seem to be particularly shy. They've mostly just ignored me. I even had to release one from a Hav-a-Heart trap once, and it just patiently waited for me to work the latch and then ambled out and on its way.

Making noise to let them know you're there is a good idea! Don't want to surprise them. :-)

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Pepe lePew

I had a downstairs 2nd-floor neighbor who would go out on his balcony on warm nights and toss food to a skunk that came by. When the animal was close enough, the guy would throw something at it to piss it off, then rush into his apartment and slam the door before the spray got into it. If I didn't know he'd done it so I could close my own windows, I was blessed with that skunky smell for hours. I can only imagine how bad it was for the 1st-floor neighbors. That guy was a major factor in my moving out of there.

Humans.

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skunks in Eastie

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Blaming the skunk problem on this guy is silly. There have been skunks in that part of Eastie for at least fifteen years -- I used to run into them walking home from the T. Until the construction started they usually stayed in the big open space and were food for the hawks that lived there too.

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15 years?

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I remember skunks in East Boston as far back as the 60s. The urban legend used to be that they were intentionally introduced into the area to control the rodent population. People in Winthrop had that legend also. I never found out if it was true or not.

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Theories:

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Theories:
1.The guy is a Skunk Liberation Front supporter
2. A would be super-villain building an army
3. Works for a real-estate or development firm looking to displace the neighbors to take over prime development property.
4. Crazy

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skunks eat rats....

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I know the smell occasionally is bad but skunks do eat rats and other rodents in the neighborhood so they are not entirely bad to have around. I have seen this guy feeding the cats at this construction site several times. The construction is almost done. The cats will move on once the building opens to residents, it is a problem that will resolve itself once the projects on the waterfront are done.

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Feral populations

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There are a number fo people citywide that are taking pity on the feral cat populations. Their intentions are good but there are consequences of their actions in some areas. The skunk issue is one since they will be drawn to the free banquet and will develop a memory regarding where and when to expect it. Racoons can also be a similar risk. The available benefit of a regular food sources will also result in their breeding more-prolifically as well.

That said... if a nuisance can be determined, you can make a call to the city to determine the best course of action. If this were on private property the owner or occupant could be cited for creating a public health nuisance. If they persist they can be fined an increasing amount, and in truly problematic instances when the person fails to comply, be brought before a judge. Personal passions can sometimes be hard to overcome.

I'd speak to the community services officer at the East Boston police station and ask them what your options are. It may be with inspection services, public health, animal control, or the police. There is a process to follow so check into it.

Some animal activists are trying to capture some of these cats and get them neutered but some just take pity and feed them which can exacerbate the problem and draw other vermin as an unexpected consequence.

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Properly done, TNR is a great

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Properly done, TNR is a great strategy for reducing feral cats as it prevents new kitten populations while maintaining cat territories, preventing an influx of new ferals into a cleared area.

Feeding animals willy nilly and leaving out food everywhere isn't really part of TNR though.

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People of Boston

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Grow some balls. You see somebody doing this, you take pictures and post it to the City's 311 Rat Someone Out Because You Have No Balls Website. If it bothers you that much, say something. That being said I do not condone people feeding wildlife.

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To be clear

You're advocating for people to go up to the animal-feeders and tell them to knock it off? Have you ever done that? Do you know how likely it is that the feeders are rational and will receive your admonition without flipping out?

Also, you're addressing the "People of Boston" here. I for one do not want for half of them to grow balls.

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I like your moxie

But that simply is not the course of action to be taken in a community where people are explicitly told not to have guns, thus leaving dangerous outlaws as the only people with them.

It's not so much "balls" as it is not watching to catch a bullet from some lunatic and/or gangbanger.

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Poison the skunks, and then

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Poison the skunks, and then tell the person you poisoned the skunks because a person was feeding them.

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Here's something else that can and often enough, does result

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when people persist on feeding wildlife: Conflicts between human beings and wildlife often increase. It can backfire hideously, and a person can end up with damaged property, or become seriously ill from being in constant contact with wildlife that way. The people who do it need to learn some respect for nature, or it'll eventually backfire on them in more ways than one.

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Skunks Can Carry Rabies

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If the skunk seems unusually docile, they may be rabid, another good reason to steer clear of them.

That said, I kind of like the little critters, particularly if they eat mice and rats.

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Not only that, but they can

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Not only that, but they can sometimes carry it without getting sick, which is good for them but bad for us.

However, they also dig up and eat yellow jacket nests, which is a big plus in my book.

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WILDlife?

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So a guy feeds the cats & skunks or an old lady feeds squirrels, So What?
Can't believe the heartless responses of poison them or the only good squirrel is a flat squirrel. Leave them alone. What are you all, Republicans?

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One solution: lights

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Definitely someone needs to give this guy a talking to. He thinks he's doing a nice thing, but he isn't helping anyone or anyskunk. But even if he stops, there are still lots of sources of food for skunks and other urban wildlife -- you'll never get rid of all of them. One solution that I've found works pretty well, in conjunction with removing food sources, is a bright light. Just leave it lit for a week or so. Skunks really don't like light, and they'll go elsewhere.

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