Updated: Thursday, 24 Mar 2011, 5:00 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 24 Mar 2011, 5:00 PM MDT
ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - Animal control officers in Roswell are dealing with a stinky situation. Skunks are invading the city, and they say you can blame La Niña.
"Right there he was, and before he could say 'Good-Morning James,' in the very ugly way they do, I jumped back," said James Bunch who recently encountered a skunk at Mayes Lumber Company in Roswell.
Bunch said a close encounter of the smelly kind is now a daily occurrence.
"They're searching for water," said Bunch. "They're searching for food, and they're searching for shelter."
He and animal control officers believe because it's been so dry, skunks are invading the city seeking relief. Animal control officers trapped 12 skunks this month alone, and they said that's almost double compared to this time last year.
"We've had an increase in skunk problems this year," Roswell Animal Control Officer Orlando Padilla said. "It's getting pretty bad right now."
Skunks do not carry only an offensive odor, they're also one of the biggest carriers of rabies and other diseases in the animal kingdom. Officers use a sheet to protect themselves from the spray when clearing skunk traps. They say residents should call them immediately if they encounter a skunk on their property, and recommend blocking up any holes where skunks might live.
At Mayes Lumber Company, the foul smelling creatures are stinking up business there and around the neighborhood.
"Every business owner on this block has personally come up and said is that smell you?" Bush said.
He said they are thankful he is trapping the creatures and keeping them away from their property.
Animal control officers euthanize the skunks they catch. To cut down on skunk encounters, they recommend that you don't leave out cat food, which skunks love, as well as water.