Don't leave skunks in boxes outside New West animal services

Staff say they found skunks inside boxes left outside their office twice in four days – something they said was unusual to find

Don’t put animals in boxes and leave them in front of the City of New Westminster’s animal services department.

It may seem like a specific request, but officials say skunks have been left in front of the New West animal services department twice in just four days.

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“Please do not leave animals at our gate after hours!” reads a Facebook post over the weekend.

In one instance, a mother and a baby skunk were left in boxes in front of the animal services gate, and four days later a single baby skunk was left in a box in front of the gate.

“These skunks were not ill or injured. But they were totally terrified at being boxed up and having to come into close contact with humans unnecessarily,” the Facebook post reads.

In a statement to The Record, Aaron Hilgerdenaar, supervisor of street use enforcement and animal services with the City of New Westminster, said Critter Care Wildlife Society has taken on the skunks, which are now “doing well and will be released when the babies have weened.”

Although calls about animals do increase during summer months, Hilgerdenaar said this isn’t a common thing to find at the animal services office, adding that the second drop-off was likely related to the first one.

“Although people may intend to be helping wild animals, it is very important to ensure that you are not doing more harm than good. We are a municipal animal shelter and are not set up to care for or house wild animals,” Hilgerdenaar said.

Skunk box
A photo of the box found by New Westminster animal services staff containing a skunk – one of two times that happened in just four days. Submitted photo

He noted that there are provincial regulations regarding relocating wildlife, and suggested people leave handling of animals to the professionals.

“Sometimes we are not the correct service provider, but we are always happy to let you know who is and how we can help,” he said, adding that leaving animals in a box like that could cause trouble for anyone who attends to it.

“In this case, the box was marked with ‘Skunk – please be careful,’ which definitely highlighted the need to approach with even more caution; marking the box in this way potentially saved a bad day/smell for our officers.”

Although he didn’t specifically address this case, Hilgerdenaar did note that it is an offence in New Westminster to “cause, permit or allow an animal to suffer; it is also an offence to permit thermal distress, dehydration, discomfort or exertion causing suffering.”

The person who left the skunk at the office is asked to contact animal services “so that we can find out more information and provide some education around this issue.”

The department can be contacted at 604-519-2008 or by email at shelter@newwestcity.ca.

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© New West Record
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