We Interrupt The Sunday Awards And Meme Show To Bring You The Saga Of The Possibly Rabid Skunk

So this morning, we woke up to find this guy on the hill behind our house:

Yes, that’s a skunk out in the daylight. At first I thought it was dead, but, not so much:

As my wife said, looking at it, “That’s not a well skunk.” So now we’re thinking either poisoned or rabid (possibly the “dumb” variety, or possibly the end stage of the “furious” variety). Fortunately it’s outside the fence, but still, there’s no telling if it might wobble its way close enough to the fence to get through, or a coyote might wander by and eat it. So, no problem, we’ll call animal control and they’ll take care of it, right?

Wrong. Animal control is closed, but their message says to call the police if we are reporting injured wildlife. So, no problem, we’ll call the police, and they’ll take care of it, right?

Wrong. The police don’t handle wildlife. They gave me two numbers for wildlife services, one commercial, one non-profit. So, no problem, I’ll call them and one of them will handle it, perhaps for a fee, right?

Wrong. One number was no answer, and the other number didn’t consider the wobbly skunk something that rates a service call on a Sunday. So, we did some more calling around and eventually got the police department to find someone at animal control to call us back. So now animal control will deal with it, right?

Wrong. Animal control says they don’t handle wildlife. They gave us the number for the state fish & game department. So no problem, we’ll call fish & game and they’ll handle it, right?

Wrong. There’s no one there. So we got the number for the USDA’s office in San Diego, which supposedly deals with sick wildlife. But you guessed it — not there. At this point we started calling emergency vets and even the Wild Animal Park in the hopes that they would have the number for some local secret organization that handles possibly rabid wildlife. Their suggestion? Animal control.

At this point the police are trying to help us find someone who will come out and collect the animal (thank you Oceanside police department!) but so far they aren’t having any luck either. We’re keeping the dogs in the house and keeping an eye on the skunk with binoculars. I guess the moral of the story is to know who you need to call for this sort of thing before it happens on a Sunday morning when there’s no one around to pick up the phone.

The Sunday Awards and Meme Show will return next week at its regularly scheduled time!

41 thoughts on “We Interrupt The Sunday Awards And Meme Show To Bring You The Saga Of The Possibly Rabid Skunk

  1. Update: The skunk has vanished from the hillside. There are a lot of burrows up there he could have crawled into, or he could have been picked up by a hawk, or he could have just staggered around to where I can’t see him. The dogs continue to be under house arrest.

    The police actually came out to the house along with animal control, but now there’s no skunk for animal control to pick up, and the animal control officer reiterated that they are not contracted to deal with wildlife and are not supposed to pick up things like skunks that are acting weird. Evidently the city has no contract with any agency to handle wildlife issues. (What do we pay such high taxes for? Oh, right, the nice weather.)

    The animal control officer said the skunk was most likely injured, which is probably true, and said there hadn’t been a reported case of rabies in a domestic animal in the area for 30 years, which may also be true*. However:

    Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. The virus is usually passed to humans via the bite of a rabid animal. Occasionally rabies can be transmitted if the saliva of an infected animal gets into a fresh scratch, break in the skin, or contact with mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, nose). In California, most cases of rabies occur in skunks and bats. (emphasis mine) Domestic animals account for three percent of animal rabies, and the rest occurs in a variety of wild animals, including foxes. If you are bitten or scratched by a rabid or possibly rabid animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water and immediately consult a physician or your local health department. The physician will decide if the series of rabies vaccinations is necessary. If so, the vaccination series should be started as soon as possible.

    I’m not willing to take the chance that the skunk is merely injured. Would you be? Sorry, dogs, you’re going to be highly supervised in the fenced yard for the next few weeks.

    EDIT: * I checked and it is.


  2. I would worry as well. We do have rabid animals show up in New Mexico — from prairie dogs to coyotes. The peeple may be more civilized there in san de eggo, but I’ll bet the wildlife isn’t. Be careful!


  3. We in Dutch say “stinkdier” he smells not yummie …. 😦
    I cannot help you !!!
    In Dutch they are special humans who take care for wild animals
    but in your country :(((


  4. Well, having grown up on a farm I can say that skunk isn’t right! No healthy skunk would be staggering around out in the middle of the day, especially where there are a lot of people around. Sadly, my dad would not have wasted a call on animal control, though, he would have dispatched the poor miserable creature himself. I would keep the dogs inside until you’re sure that the skunk has vacated the area and hasn’t shared his germs with any other critters in your vicinty.


  5. Yeah, animal control is a problematic situation even out here. Just try asking them what to do with a bat in the house on a Friday night that is acting weird. Their best answer was for you to catch it and put it in the freezer till Monday!

    Hopefully that skunk has moved on in both senses of the phrase. Either way, stay safe and un-skunked Dennis.


  6. I had the same pass the buck phone calls when we had a weird bat in the alley and the calls didn’t happen on a Sunday. Like you the weird bat disappeared when we were not looking.


  7. Someone may have poisoned it which is why it was behaving strangely. You can’t know that though and I would do just what you did. On Sunday here in a small town would probably get the same action. .none!



  8. Do you have a gun? Or a bow and arrow? How about a long stick with a point on the end? Maybe some rocks? How about a four-wheel-drive?
    You see where I’m going with this? I remember, as a boy of about eight, taking a live mouse from the jaws of a cat. It was horribly injured, and gasping. I threw it against a wall with all my might.


  9. Poor little skunk is confused for sure. But not knowing where it went is problematic, right? Can’t Dennis send out scouts to hunt it down and make sure it is far away? Or maybe dada will need to brave up and go scour the hillside himself. Hey, its worth it to protect the pack, right?

    Good luck because it is a most concerning situation.



  10. Good to see it is a universal problem. You know I am such an animal lover I probably would have gone up to skunk and tried to be kind. In return it would probably have latched onto my leg and sprayed me. Then I would have had to ring around all the hospitals and doctors surgeries finding one that was open and could deal with a stinking, bleeding mess because I bet the ambulance would refuse to pick up skunk attack victim due to health and safety issues.


  11. One advantage of living in the middle of nowhere. He would not have made it long until some predator – two or four legged – would have snatched him up.

    Years ago, Nikita killed a raccoon in our back yard (when we actually lived in a city). Knowing that a large number of raccoons in the area were rabid, I called animal control to ask if it should be tested. They said no, because the odds were it was rabid. Huh? They said confirm the dog has a current rabies shot. Yes. Ok, then call the sanitation department for removal. Which apparently required an appointment which would take days (uh, this was summer and we lived on a .2 acre lot – I am thinking the smell would be high by then). We finally just buried the poor guy.


  12. i get that whenever i call our guys about a extra creepy coyote or something. “we don’t do coyotes”, “we don’t do feral cats”, “we don’t do injured cats”, “we don’t do stray dogs.”


  13. I say send it up into orbit in Dennis’ Flying Saucer. It is one sick er…um skunk, poor thing. But the # of calls you had to make is ridiculous. (Sorry it’s been so long since we’ve visited – it’s been a crazy time – know it’s been fun heheh)
    Hugs xo


  14. oh ive seen those before, theyre those hippy feral cats who smell bad cuz they never bathe and wear their hair long and dont have jobs. probably try to get dennis to go on a road trip with them to some concert up the coast or something


  15. I hate when these kinds of things happen. I have a number for a Wildlife Care Center around me that only picks up wildlife — they won’t pick up any dogs or feral cats, just ducks and raccoons and things.

    On the other hand, there was a dog running alongside of the highway a couple weeks ago. I stopped on the shoulder and kind of watched to make sure he didn’t get in traffic. Then I proceeded to have the exact same situation you had with the skunk. No one would help! I kept saying, if someone doesn’t help, there’s no way off this highway… No dice. 😦

    Hope you can eventually get the skunk some help if he shows back up!


  16. Sheesh…nothing like a little red tape to start your Sunday off! You would think that there would be some kind of “chain of cammand” to handle situations like that….

    I am going to go with…the skunk went back to his family and they all lived happily every after!!!

    ….or maybe he had a tardis….

    The Mama


  17. Yes, nocturnal animals – not a good sign being out in the day time.. You could set a box trap. they don’t spray if they can’t lift their tail. Drop it off at animal control. MAKE it their problem. Or, you could let it bite you, that always gets everyone moving. I would not like knowing it is in the area. It’s a possible threat regardless of what is wrong with it. Sometimes the local news channels can make a issue of lack of service.


  18. OH God! Can’t stop laughing at Tooty’s ‘Do You have a gun?’ comment. BRIlliant. God. And man, I don’t blame You at all for YOur trepedation. Was laughing in empathy reading this cause when my son was about two there was an ODDDDD looking coyote wandering around our neighborhood. He had to be SICK, SICK, SICK and all of our phone calls did nothing. We did the same loop. cowrazy. Hope the skunk is okay and that everyone in Your vacinity is okay. Namaste. 🙂


  19. Poor skunk! 😦 My hooman would have gone out there to rescue it. Screw rabies which might not have been the issue anyway. Aren’t dogs vaccinated against rabies anyway? In Australia we don’t have rabies so that is one needle less for me but my hooman says in Germany it is compulsory for doggies…

    I really hope Tooty Nolan wasn’t serious! How can one be sooooo cruel???

    Anyway – the rest of the story made my moms day again… The world can be so annoying! My mom once hit a suicidal dear with her car. In Germany you are also supposed to call all sorts of authorities when that happens but god forbid it happens after 11PM. After 30min of making calls, crying and getting no further she called her 2 best friends – one with hunting experience (not too common in Germany) and the other one is a butcher (not a good match for a vegetarian 🙂 ) Anyway – both came, they took the dear (illegal) and they used every part of it. So at least his death wasn’t in vain…
    Slobbers Teal’c


  20. Rabies or injury the sad part is the little guy was obviously suffering at what was obviously the end of his life cycle.

    We had a opposum come wobbling into our yard and was at the end of its life from what looked to be from getting hit on the road given the visual extent of its injurys. Smith & Wesson ended his painful misery.


  21. Poor skunk. They can be quite gentle and even though they don’t see too well (they have excellent hearing and sense of smell to compensate), they can be quite trusting of people. I grew very fond of the skunks that were in residence in the area where I lived at in New Mexico. Also, skunks, like raccoons, can show up during the day to take advantage of human activity (spilled birdseed from feeders, for example). It’s so hard not to help the creature yourself, but my time in wildlife rescue and rehab was full of stories of people who tried to help hurt animals, and ended up with significant injuries.


Leave us a woof or a purr!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.