Last Tuesday, Sergeant Dominic Ramirez of the Clearlake Police Department in California responded to a call unlike any other he’d experienced in his law-enforcement career. It was something he’d never been trained to handle, and it would require all of the compassion and bravery he could muster. Ramirez freed a skunk that had gotten its head stuck in a plastic tackle box.
The CPD said in a Facebook post that featured a video of the rescue, “In pursuit of potential good eats, the skunk stuck its head a bit too far and became stuck, dragging the box around and unable to remove its newfound plastic regalia.”
In the video, recorded at night by the rescuing officer’s partner, a gloved Ramirez holds the open plastic box with one hand and tugs gently on the nape of the stuck animal, which, in classic form, has its tail sticking straight up in the air for the duration of the procedure. The officer then simply holds the box as the skunk tries to pull its head out. Ramirez asks, “How’d you get your head in here?” After he performs another tug or two on the critter’s hair near its shoulders, the skunk lifts its front left paw, pushes against the box, and pops free.
The CPD Facebook post described the rescue this way: “In accordance with his extensive training (ok, seriously we have no training on dealing with skunks) – Sgt. Ramirez… carefully assisted the skunk and set it on its way.”
While the internet offers plenty of advice on ways to avoid skunk encounters (cover trash, install a fence, spray homemade jalapeno juice, install lights, mow the lawn, hide pet food, etc.), there seems to be no manual on removing one from a bait box. Here, too, it seems like prevention is the key: Close your tackle boxes and cover any holes.
Despite his lack of training, Sgt. Ramirez did a masterful job. The freed skunk quickly turned tail. But it did not spray the officers.
The CPD Facebook post concluded, “If you have any questions regarding caring for skunks, rescuing them, etc. please contact Sgt. Ramirez. Actually, please don’t. Call an expert. But, he has a big heart for animals, so let’s give him a shout out for helping out!”