When a skunk took a liking to Denver and Wanda Ward's backyard, digging holes under their fence and eating tomato plants, Denver decided to do something about it. He caught his culprit and thought he was doing the right thing by calling the city to come get it. He explains, "She wasn't interested in the skunk. She was interested in how I caught it. I told her I caught it with a steel trap and she asked did I know that's against the law and I said no m'aam I didn't."
The Animal Services officer wrote Denver a $137 ticket because steel traps are not allowed in Lubbock. A local radio station, KRBL, soon caught wind of Denver's situation and from there something incredible happened. Paul R. Beane, KRBL General Manager, explains, "It took us eight minutes to raise the money and after several arguments on the phone people who wanted to pay the entire fine, it was absolutely amazing to see the response." Denver says, though he doesn't need help paying the fine, "It shows a bunch of wonderful people that care."
City Councilmen Gary Boren thinks something stinks about Denver's fine too. He says, "The skunk doesn't have more rights than we do as citizens and I think it's a matter of attitude and respect and what did the city do when they came out here? They killed the skunk."
Boren says the city should use discretion when handling such matters, especially since Denver did not know what he did was wrong. The 80-year-old never causes trouble, he spends every day caring for his wife of 60 years. Denver laughs when he says, "They say when you get married for better or for worse."
Boren adds, "People need to remember we work for the citizens." Denver just thinks it should have been handled differently. He explains, "I told this lady you should advertise this, like the speed limit. Signs, these laws... nobody knows anything about them."
NewsChannel 11 spoke with Lubbock's Animal Services department. They say steel traps are inhumane and they were just following the city ordinance. Animal Services does have humane traps and they encourage you to call them for help with problem animals. You can call (806) 775-2057 for more information.