Around 2 am this morning, my dog woke me up. She was pacing and giving me all the signs that she needed to go to the bathroom. This has happened before when she's had a bad stomach, so I quickly ran downstairs and let her out, thinking I was avoiding an accident. 5 seconds later we had a whole new problem on our hands.

As soon as I opened the sliding glass door, the dog bolted down the steps. Something was in the yard, but it was hard for me to make out. I was half asleep, and it was dark out. The dog caught the animal, but then let out a yelp and ran straight back into the house. She was coughing, sneezing, and drooling out of her mouth. Then the smell hit. Oh my God, the smell. It was so noxious. It was clear, the dark object in the yard was a skunk.

The scramble to find something to clean the dog at 2 am.

So what do you do when that happens? I've heard about tomato juice getting the smell out, but we were fresh out. A quick Google brought up making a paste using hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Dawn dish soap. We didn't have any hydrogen peroxide and it was 2 am.

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I kept scrolling and found out that vinegar can help as well. Fortunately, we had some of that down in the kitchen. So there we were, giving the dog a bath at 2:30 in the morning. She happily wagged her tail and smiled with all the attention she was getting. Clearly, she hasn't learned her lesson. I really don't want to deal with this again, so what am I supposed to do about the skunk?

I had some listeners suggest that I placed crushed moth balls around the yard to deter skunks. Sure, that might work, but knowing my dog she'll get into those too. My neighbor suggested we get a live trap and kill it. But is that even legal?

skunk in nature during fall

What are the laws in Wisconsin when it comes to skunks?

Did you know you can't possess a wild or domestic skunk in Wisconsin? The only people that can possess a skunk are those authorized to control the skunk temporarily. Domestic skunks are those that are licensed and raised on a fur animal farm.

Can you kill a wild skunk?

Under the Wisconsin State Legislature section 29.427 (6) :

(6) Destruction. A person may kill at any time a wild skunk which is a nuisance to activities authorized under s. 29.55, 29.572, 29.574, 29.575, 29.578 or 29.585. A person who kills an adult wild skunk with young shall attempt to kill the young skunks.

How are skunks humanely killed?

Experts say the best way to humanely kill a skunk is to use a live trap. Once the skunk is in the trap, approach it slowly and cover it with a tarp or burlap. If you are careful and move slowly, the skunk likely won't release it's scent. Then gassing it with engine exhaust or submerging it in water is the preferred method. This is according to and written by a University of Wisconsin - Madison wildlife ecology professor.

What does PETA say?

PETA suggests that you target the areas that the skunk are attracted to, and try to live in peaceful harmony with the skunks. Unfortunately, I don't think my dog is going to get the memo. They also suggest placing ammonia-soaked rags or clothes in their den area so they will move on to a new location.

Others have suggested using crushed mothballs, but those can be dangerous to young animals.

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