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Dardenne Prairie to pick up costs of disposing of trapped skunks

A group of Dardenne Prairie residents dealing with a rising skunk population in their neighborhoods are getting help from the city.

The Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen agreed at their Aug. 3 work session to reimburse residents the $80 fee that St. Charles County charges to get rid of trapped skunks.

“We talked it over and what are you going to do, are we going to let the skunks run rampant for the next couple weeks and spray people or are we going to mitigate their skunk problem,” Mayor David Zucker said. “Eventually the skunks are going to move.”

Residents can pick up a skunk trap by putting down a $40 refundable deposit from the county’s Division of Humane Services, which handles the city’s animal control. If a skunk is caught in the trap, the county sends out an employee to take the animal and dispose of it.

The resident is charged $80 by the county for disposing the trapped skunk and can get their $40 deposit back once the trap is returned. The county has special traps and can dispose an animal better than a city employee, Zucker said.

“I don’t know what it will cost, my guess is that it won’t be that much,” he said.

Campbell Village subdivision residents came before the board at their July 22 meeting, complaining about problems on the rise in the skunk population in the last year or so. Residents said they see as many as four to seven skunks wandering near subdivision porches and yards or outside when they walk their dogs in the evening.

Some dogs have been sprayed by skunks and residents fear the wild animals could be source of rabies. The skunks also may have found building dens for their young under decks and in yards.

Residents said they have been unable to get help from the Missouri Department of Conservation, St. Charles County animal control and highway department officials. Residents decided to come before the board to ask for help.

Zucker and Alderman Dan Koch [Ward 3] said on July 22 that the city could consider helping pay for some of the cost to residents. The board agreed to reimburse residents for the $80 cost at their Aug. 3 workshop.

Missouri Department of Conservation officials said the skunks may have found a ready food source such as grubs and pet food that is put outside.

Dan Zarlenga, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said last month that preventative measures such as not leaving pet food available outside, filling holes, cutting down on bird seed and eliminating branches and yard waste may dissuade animals.

“There is usually something that draws them,” he said.

The animals also may be migrating from the nearby August. A. Busch Wildlife area. The city has had problems with nuisance wildlife before, paying a trapper $500 for three months earlier this year to trap out beavers building dams along creeks in the city, which were backing up water.

Zucker said poison may not be a good option because it could hurt other animals, and the city prohibits the discharge of firearms.

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