Rochester Police Department Nets PETA Award for Rescuing Skunk

Officer Frees Animal With Head Caught in Discarded Container

For Immediate Release:
August 5, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Rochester, Mich. – A call from a good Samaritan led Officer Merlin Taylor to W. Third Street on Sunday, where a young skunk was running in circles on the street with her head caught in a discarded yogurt container. The officer was able to snatch the container off the terrified animal, who fled from the scene unscathed. For Officer Taylor’s compassion, the Rochester Police Department will receive a framed certificate and some delicious vegan cookies.

“This officer’s kindness likely spared this skunk a long and agonizing death,” says PETA Senior Director Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes this story will inspire others to dispose of used containers properly and always come to the aid of any animal in need.”

Not all animals who become caught in human trash are as lucky as this skunk. Would you please share the following potentially lifesaving tips about disposing of garbage with your audience?

  • Rinse out all cans, place the cover or lid inside so that animals’ tongues won’t get cut, and crush the open end of the can as flat as possible.
  • Put lids back onto glass jars and plastic containers.
  • Cut open one side of empty cup-like containers. Inverted-pyramid yogurt cups have caused many squirrels’ deaths.
  • Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds.
  • Choose paper bags at the grocery store (or take along your own reusable bags), and use only biodegradable or photodegradable food storage bags.
  • Always cover garbage cans because baby opossums and other animals can fall in and become unable to climb out.
  • If animals are tipping over your trash can, store it in a garage or make a wooden garbage can rack. Trash can lids with clasps sometimes foil animals as well.

For more information, please see PETA’s lifesaving tips for dealing with wildlife.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind