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Davis removes skunk fee

FARMINGTON — Davis County residents no longer have to pay a fee when animal control officers remove a skunk or raccoon from their property.

The Davis County Board of Commissioners repealed the $20 fee, which had only been in effect since July 25, during Tuesday's meeting.

Commissioner Alan Hansen said that the fee prompted phone calls from residents to the sheriff's office and the commission office because residents who routinely caught skunks and raccoons in traps felt they were already doing a service. To be charged $20 per animal on top of catching them was too much, they said.

Hansen said commissioners opted to impose the fee in July because so many skunks and raccoons were being caught that it became taxing on Animal Control, which had to send officers out to retrieve the animals.

Then there's the cost of euthanizing them and the time it takes Animal Control officers away from other duties, said Keith Major, business manager for the Davis County Sheriff's Office, which oversees Animal Control.

"It costs you materials to euthanize them — to dispose of the animals," Major said. "Somebody has to pay that. We've been doing that in the past and it's getting (to) be a problem."

It's a problem Davis County government inherited, Hansen said. As residents began moving up the hillsides and closer to creeks, they encroached on the animals' habitat.

Once upon a time, Hansen said, there were few calls to Animal Control for skunks and raccoons, and the agency could easily foot the bill for the service.

But more homes near habitat meant more animals and more calls, Major said.

Because commissioners repealed the fee Tuesday, Animal Control will still have to make it through the rest of the year without charging residents.

To make up the revenue from the fee, Hansen said, Animal Control's service contracts with the 15 cities in Davis County, as well as Hill Air Force Base, will likely reflect an increase to cover skunks and raccoons.

It's an idea most of the county's mayors agreed with during a recent Davis County Council of Governments meeting, Hansen said, because the mayors agreed their cities benefit from the wild animal-removal service.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com