Pete Brown had a problem. Two weeks ago, he started smelling something foul.
"We just could not tell where the odor was coming from," he said.
He purchased skunk poison and put out traps, but the animals continued to evade his efforts.
"If I blocked one area, the skunk would go to the other side. Very intelligent, these animals," said Brown.
Skunks are invading Abilene as they try to find their other half. It's mating season for the critters, and it's prompted Animal Services to introduce a new trapping program. They're also providing residents with information to avoid attracting the animals.
"My wife is an animal lover. She leaves food out for stray animals. I think that was the start of the problem," said Brown.
The Abilene Animal Shelter said he's right, and attracting the animals could be dangerous for people and pets.
"In the state of Texas, skunks are the number one carrier of rabies," said Aaron Vannoy, Animal Services Manager at the Abilene Animal Shelter. "They may look good in cartoons but in real life they're not that friendly."
He said skunks are moving further into town.
"Skunks are out in our community. Every neighborhood has them," said Vannoy.
For unwanted visitors, he said a live trap is a good way to go.
The shelter puts out about 20 to 30 of them every night in different areas. A lot of times they get calls of sightings around parks or day cares, and those are a priority.
They also have traps that can be picked up for household use. However with the busy season, there is a wait list for a trap. The wait could be up to one or two weeks.
Traps can also be purchased.
Stores like Jackson Brothers Feed have seen an increase in sales this month and do every year around this time.
"This is definitely the time of year people are buying products for skunks," said Kyle Jackson, the store's purchasing agent. "Our sales have definitely increased with people asking for live traps and anytime a skunk encounters one of their pets they need something to get that smell off of them."
A live trap worked for the Brown family, and Pete Brown said they will be following the shelter's advice.
"We had a discussion about that last night. My wife reluctantly agreed to stop feeding the wild animals," he said.
Below is the city’s news release in its entirety:
The City of Abilene’s Animal Services Division reports an increase in the number of skunks seen within the Abilene city limits. This is mating season for skunks and they are more active in neighborhoods, searching for a new mate. Below are tips to protect property and pets from skunk damage:
1. Do not feed the skunks. They can easily become dependent on human food sources.
2. Never leave pet food outside, particularly at night.
3. Never discard edible garbage where skunks can find access to it.
4. Secure garbage bags to eliminate odors to discourage scavenging.
Skunks are the primary source for rabies in Texas and human and domestic pet contact with skunks should be avoided. For more information about skunks and skunk prevention tips, visit http://www.abilenetx.com/index/happenings.htm.