Our Trash: Tantalizing and Dangerous

Skunk Rescue Just One Example of a Disturbing Trend

Recently, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services responded to a call in Melrose to help a skunk in distress. A plastic cup ring had become lodged around its neck, forcing the skunk to walk on its hind legs.

ARL Rescue Services was able to cut the ring from its neck, freeing the skunk and allowing it to continue on with the day. Unfortunately these types of rescues are becoming more common.

ARL spoke with the Washington Post recently, and the ensuing article described similar examples from around the nation, Canada and Great Britain. Drawn to the lure of meaty morsels or sugary sweetness, our trash is causing harm to wildlife — but it doesn’t have to.

Simple Solutions

We’re taught at a young age not to litter, and that’s a perfect place to start. Trash along our roadways isn’t only an eyesore and harmful to the environment, it’s also a perfect hunting ground for wildlife to sift through for sweet treats. Keep a bag for your auto-trash, and discard at home.

Before throwing away plastic or paper containers (yogurt, the dish your ice cream came in etc..) give them a rinse before discarding – and if it’s something an animal may get stuck in, crush or cut up the container.

Back in November 2017, ARL Rescue Services helped a poor raccoon that had its head stuck in what appeared to be a peanut butter jar. To avoid these situations, similar jars should also be rinsed, then tightly sealed before being thrown away.

When it comes to trash containers, make sure they’re shut tightly. Raccoons and other animals can show extreme determination if they smell something good inside, so using bungee cords can serve as a great deterrent.

At Your Service

ARL is the only animal welfare agency in Massachusetts with technical rescue capabilities, and rescued nearly 2,000 animals in 2017. Should you see an animal in distress, please contact ARL Rescue Services at (617) 426-9170.