Skunk clean, free after officer's soap treatment

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Daily American Republic

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Animal control officer Mark Hastings has freed trapped skunks before but never quite like this.

At 7:15 a.m. Friday, Hastings was called upon to free a skunk who had managed to get its head lodged in the drainage hole of a Dumpster at the Trailwood Apartments in Poplar Bluff.

"I've never been sprayed before," said Hastings as he walked around the Dumpster. "And this isn't a good day to start."

He finally struck upon the idea of using dish soap to lubricate the neck of the trapped animal.

As Hastings applied liberal amounts of soap, the skunk did its best to pull itself free. After spinning around for about an hour and a half, the skunk popped out of the hole and took cover underneath the Dumpster.

According to Hooper, it was one of three skunks who live around the apartments and frequently dine on bits of food and garbage strewn around the Dumpster.

"They are so used to people I didn't think he would spray," Hastings said. "Well, at least now he'll be clean."

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