NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) — The Newton school district has a warning for people who like to exercise at the Newton High School track – stay clear!

Newton USD 373 says many skunks are in the track area, especially under the high jump mats.

“They aren’t scared of you,” Newton Schools said on social media. “One skunk charged a person using the track over the weekend. Please, stay clear of the high school track until further notice.”

Carly Stavola, a spokesperson for the district, said skunks seem to be a problem in that area of Newton.

“The situation is complicated by the fact that our city’s Animal Control Officer is out with an injury, and most private companies do not deal with skunks,” she said. “Our facilities and maintenance crews are working on some catch/trap/move mechanisms, but we don’t know what that looks like just yet, so keeping the public at a distance is key.”

The public is usually welcome to use the track.

The safety of our students, staff, and community members is always our top priority.  We feel there is a potential danger to the public due to the number of skunks and that people could get close to them without even realizing.  We have closed the track and football field out of an abundance of caution.  There is a trapper coming out to remove the skunks.  The track and football field will remain closed until we feel confident the skunks are no longer in the area.”

Blake Smith, Newton High School interim head principal

If you or a pet get sprayed by a skunk, try using this recipe from the Newton Animal Control website:

Skunk Deodorizer

  • 1 quart of 3% peroxide
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray everything that smells. Let it sit for a few minutes to give the Dawn a chance to break down the oils; then rinse with water. Repeat if it still smells. Be careful not to get the spray into the eyes of animals or people.