Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Skunks trespass on campus, facilities warn

Isabel Velazquez

The grounds staff of Dallas College Brookhaven Campus have reported recent sightings of skunks and opossums around campus. This increase has been a result of the cat food and other snacks that are being left out around campus, possibly to feed feral cats on campus. We spoke to John Watson, Brookhaven facilities manager, about the repercussions of feeding wildlife and how that can attract other predators from the surrounding area.


Have you ever seen this critter problem before? 

JW: It’s not really a critter problem. It’s more about co-existing with urban wildlife in a manner that avoids conflicts. The conflict in this case is created when people have difficulty adapting to the presence of wildlife. Feeding them increases their reliance on an unnatural food source.

Have you ever witnessed an escalated critter or pest problem such as coyotes? 

JW: Yes.

What was done then to resolve it and is there a way facilities are controlling the issue?

JW: In most cases, doing nothing but monitoring and increasing awareness is all that’s needed.

People are leaving behind cat food and fruit. Is there something else they can do to try and help these stray cats besides leaving out food?

JW: We don’t really need to feed them. Feral cats help keep rat populations in check.

Why do skunks and opossums attract coyotes? 

JW: Coyotes are simply following their food source. The more abundant that food source is, the more predators enter the area.

What are the different things students and faculty can do to prevent attracting wild animals to our campus? 

JW: It would be great to have a litter-free campus.

What should students, staff or faculty do if they see food that was left out?

JW: If people see food left out, call 972-860-5445 to ask that we remove it and clean up.

Q: Should students try to approach the animals to trap them? 

JW: Approaching or attempting to trap the critters can put you at risk of being bit. If you’re outside, please give the animals enough space to safely wander off on their own. If an animal has entered a building, please call College Police at 972-860-4290. Police will involve facilities to have animals removed if necessary.

 Who should students contact if they see kittens, skunks, opossums, or coyotes?

JW: A sighting does not need to be reported. Threatening or injured critters do need to be reported (see previous question).

What damages can these critters leave behind? 

JW: Mostly burrowing and unwelcome material chewing.

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