Skunks on the attack in Allentown neighborhood

April 7, 2011 3:34:17 PM PDT
People are being warned to take precautions after two attacks by rabid skunks in an Allentown neighborhood.

Two skunks have been killed in the city in the last two weeks. One of them bit a woman and the other charged at police.

Mabel Scheirer was a witness to one of the incidents. She says there's always been wildlife in her East Allentown neighborhood but, on Sunday, it got a little too wild.

"I happened to look out the back and there was two skunks fighting," said Scheirer. "They were in my yard and the neighbor's yards - fighting like crazy."

Scheirer says the skunks continued to fight in the back yards on the 2000 block of East Columbia Street until police and animal control got there.

"The one skunk started to chase the policeman and, when he did, [the officer] shot at him twice but he kept coming," she said. "So then the other policeman shot him with the rifle."

On Wednesday, the city confirmed that the skunk did have rabies.

That incident followed an attack on a woman in the same neighborhood a week before. That woman, Gwen Pease, was bit on the ankle by a rabid skunk while gardening.

"The skunk was killed and diagnosed with rabies," she said. Pease is now recovering from her bite and rabies shots.

Authorities offered some tips to protect yourself from potential attacks:

"Feed your animals inside and clean up around your bird feeder so there's no food source to attract these wildlife and potential problems. Keep your trash cans covered," said Ann Sauman, Allentown's Recycling and Solid Waste Manager.

Also, she said, make sure that your pets are vaccinated against rabies and watch your kids and pets outside.

The city says that if you do notice a skunk behaving erratically to stay away and call 911.