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Woman finds family of skunks who have moved into her backyard

Woman finds family of skunks who have moved into her backyard

PARKER, Wash. - “At first, I was like this is so cool,” Lauri Rader said. That may not be the typical response to having squatters underneath your house, but that's how Rader felt when she saw they were skunks.

She first noticed them three weeks ago poking their heads out from under her deck in her backyard.

Rader said she thought there were only two or three of them, but later saw there was a family of skunks. One mother with five of her babies.

“Then they started coming out a little earlier and a little earlier because I was putting cat food out and they love cat food,” she said.

Because she uses cat food, Rader said her cats have gone down there and befriended the skunks as well.

She thinks her new neighbors are cute, but said other people think she should call someone to remove them.

Someone like Charles Van Dyke.

A skunk trapper who's had his fair share sprays from these critters.

“Hundreds of times. It's not a fun experience,” Van Dyke said.

While they can be cute. He said if this happens to you, don't feed them.

He said once they get a constant source of food, they're most likely not going to leave.

Which can be dangerous for yourself and others.

“They can have diseases. They can have K9 distemper or they can tularemia,” Van Dyke said.

He said once he traps the skunk, the Department of Fish and Wildlife requires him to euthanize them.

If he doesn’t, he said they won't be able to get food in the wild and will just find another home to hole up in.

Now Rader needs to make a tough decision. Whether to let the skunks live with her or make a call that will essentially get them killed.

“I want to see what can be done to not kill them but get them safely out and replaced somewhere,” she said.

After hearing trappers have to kill the skunks after they take them away. Rader said she isn't sure what she's going to do.

She said hopefully she can end up keeping at least one of them as a pet.

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