Varmints Are Now Skunked

Published 3:22 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FARMVILLE – Barring extreme cases, the Town of Farmville is turning non-domestic animal complaints over to experts.

Town employees, including the police, will no longer respond to complaints about skunks and their friends.

Instead, residents will be provided the names and phone numbers of individuals trained and more than proficient in the removal of non-domestic animal culprits.

“Just to clarify a point-if the animal's endangering somebody's property or their life,” Town Manager Gerald Spates clarified, “we will respond…”

But under no other circumstances.

The new policy was adopted during Town Council's August meeting.

The issue was raised by Spates, who told council members he wanted “to establish a policy for handling complaints regarding non-domestic animals. It doesn't have to do with cats and dogs, but raccoons, snakes, skunks, whatever.”

The town manager explained that, “we get a lot of calls for game animals that really don't come under our jurisdiction.”

Spates elaborated, saying, “my concern is if our people do it-we're not trained to do it-they go in and get bit and it ends up they have to go through a series of rabies shots. Usually the police are the ones that get called.”

The new policy, he continued, will see callers given the names and phone numbers of three individuals, and any other individuals who want to be included, “when they call dispatch and they can come to their property and remove the animal (for a fee). These people are trained to do it.”

Citing an example of the efficacy of such a policy, Spates told council members, “I think there was an incident…where squirrels got in the attic. One of these individuals was called, and removed the squirrels and then sealed the attic up so the squirrels couldn't get back in it.”

Each day brings its own challenges.

“As a matter of fact, I think we had a snake in a car today (at a shopping center)…They (the driver) saw the back end of the snake. They couldn't get it out and the snake disappeared (inside the vehicle). I don't think I'd drive that car…

“…I'd like to ask council that we consider doing this,” Spates said, “and that way we're out of the non-domestic animal business…”

After the motion was unanimously approved, the town manager said, “We will no longer handle non-domestic animal calls. They will be referred to these individuals, and if there's other individuals that want to be on the list. It's up to the property owners to call them…”