Suburban Skunk Shooter Fined $25

Police ticket man for trapping without a permit

Saturday, Oct 17, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 PM CDT
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Do not try to trap your own skunk. It will cost you.

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Gerald Harsen thinks the skunk situation in suburban Elmhurst, well, stinks.

Particularly after the police gave him a $25 ticket for trapping without a permit after he shot and killed a skunk in his back yard last month.

"I grew up on a farm and I've always had the opinion there are certain critters I should not have to live with," he told the Chicago Tribune.

That's exactly what got Harson in trouble with the law. Before he left for work on September 30th, he killed a skunk with a pellet gun after he had trapped with peanut butter and bread in his back yard. 

Not long after he arrived at work, he got a call about some commotion at his house. Two Elmhurst police cars and an animal control vehicle wanted to see him about his vigilante approach to the problem. So he called the police.

"I said, 'Well, I'm the fugitive from justice that you're looking for,' " Harson told the Tribune.

It seems one of his neighbors turned him in. But not everyone was quite so upset about the day's events.  

"Before he took care of the skunk we were smelling and seeing it all the time," neighbor and "animal lover" Emily Bastedo told the Tribune. "Since then, I have not smelled it once."

The $25 fine ended up costing Harson a lot less than hiring a private company to come out and trap the animal.

"I don't think I should have to pay someone to do something I could do perfectly well on my own."

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