Skunk Whisperer News & BlogsThis is our brand new frequently updated news section for both blogs and other wildlife news. You now have the ability to comment directly on each blog. You may also view detailed press coverage of The Skunk Whisperer® under our about us section.
Ned was recently interviewed by Oklahoma Homes, one of the top sites for Oklahoma real estate, including Oklahoma City, OK homes for sale. Oklahoma Homes also services Texas homes for sale and Georgia real estate.
Below is a short preview of the interview they conducted with Ned.
Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.
As a child, one of the first “jobs” I had was predator-proofing our chicken house and stopping chipmunks from burrowing into grave sites. After being bitten on my forehead by a chipmunk because I placed my head down to the burrow entrance, I fell in love with wildlife. I had no idea back then that a hobby and passion could also be a living.
In Oklahoma it started as a hobby via assisting homeowners with removing uninvited guests from their attics and crawl spaces as well as assisting with the massive feral cat issues in different parts of Tulsa. After a while when your “real job” gets in the way of your hobby you realize it is not a hobby, it’s not a job, it’s a way of life and career…
Read the full interview: Humane Animal Removal Process: an Interview with Ned Bruha of The Skunk Whisperer
Picture from News 9
We recently assisted an Edmond, Oklahoma client with skunks spraying his dog in his back yard because people were trapping and illegally relocating their own skunks in nearby parks. We fixed his fence, whereas the nearby golf course paid a trapper to trap and kill over 60 skunks.
“It’s a problem that’s causing a big stink with a lot of people; the drought has been forcing skunks out of their natural habitat and into our yards looking for food.
The problem is especially bad out at Lake Hefner where folks on the golf course and homeowners report problems. On Thursday a bicyclist was sprayed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Skunk Whisperer® is First to Provide Non Toxic Pest Control in Oklahoma
Oklahoma – 25 July 2012 – The Skunk Whisperer®, an Oklahoma based humane wildlife control company well known for their appearances on TV and their reputation as the best wildlife control service provider in Oklahoma, has entered the pest control industry:
“Our clients demanded natural, non-toxic pest control to get rid of the fleas and other pests wildlife brought into their homes. Because nobody offered this non toxic pest service, we decided to research it and give our clients what they wanted. Our pest control methods are prevention and repair-based and our products are truly non-toxic and natural. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first in the U.S. to start doing pest control in this unique manner. Our offices are in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.”
This is a big step for The Skunk Whisperer® and a giant leap forward for the pest control industry. By setting an example that wildlife can be controlled without trapping and other inhumane methods, The Skunk Whisperer® has inspired many across this nation. Now through their example of natural and non-toxic pest control services and the guidance of Ned Bruha, the Skunk Whisperer®, will undoubtedly inspire a movement in the non-toxic pest control industry.
“The reason so few pest control companies do not offer truly non-toxic, natural or organic pest control is because it takes a massive amount of desire, research and product testing to have natural and non-toxic products that work. Personally, and as a businessman, I do not want poison in my home or in our clients’ buildings, either. Many advertise “natural” and “non-toxic” but when you research further, it is simply false advertisement to warm your heart and open your pocketbook. Our goal is to change the actual environment of your home, business and property to make pests unwelcome while being careful to not harm beneficial insects. If a pest problem is found, we will first eliminate the sources of food, water and shelter that pests need to survive (sealing cracks, installing screens, moving wood piles, drainage issues and other insect attractants). If it is necessary to use a truly natural, non-toxic pesticide, we will use products in a manner that eliminates risk to people, pets or our environment.”
To help clients find and evaluate pest control needs and services, The Skunk Whisperer® has launched a new website, www.nontoxicpestcontrol.com, to accompany their main company website, www.totalwildlifecontrol.com.
This is a letter posted by the President of the Skunk Whisperer on Facebook, 22 November 2011.
As President of The Skunk Whisperer, I would like to say a few words.
Ned does not feel comfortable with his niece watching “Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer” on Animal Planet. The same goes with the folks at church with which Chris and his family are associated. None of them are comfortable with children watching the show in general.
4,000 of you were Skunk Whisperer fans before our show began airing. To you, our clients, our family, friends and everybody else – on behalf of our real Skunk Whisperer Tulsa and Oklahoma office owners and employees, Wild Heart Ranch and crew, I would like to sincerely apologize for all of the vulgar language and behavior being exposed to on “Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer” on Animal Planet. Our goal was to make the show educational. Some of that DID come through, and we are very happy about that.
Through TV, we saw a fantastic opportunity to educate the world about non-traditional, more humane, no-trap, no-kill methods allowing wildlife to safely co-exist with humans. However, certain actions and behavior on the show have been shocking, overwhelming, hurtful and infuriating, not to mention extremely stressful. Most of all, we are fearful that the general public sees things such as sleeping in a customer’s backyard or openly urinating on a customer’s lawn (a sexual registry crime) as the way we truly operate. We would fire an employee on the spot for doing a mere fraction of what was shown on the show.
Stormy was employed by production and was doing exactly what he was paid to do. You can hear beeps when Ned is talking and see Ned laughing about Stormy riding a pony, whereas, Ned was actually not there at that time. Editing made it appear as if he was laughing in approval. Ned has received death threats because of his beliefs about wildlife control. Yet he continues to stand up for what he believes in; Ned’s integrity is second to none. Annette had one of her orphaned fawns that she was raising killed by gunshot multiple times to the heart right at her doorstep. Not everybody approves of our methods. As our methods are more and more recognized by the general public, they may threaten traditional wildlife control methods and the living of those practicing them.
In summary, the type of behavior I mentioned is not reflective of our business models and our missions, and is simply not tolerated, yet we cannot control what is filmed, edited, and being shown on TV.
As of now, and until the air clears, your posts on this page will be seen by nobody, including us. Comments will be seen by everybody and monitored. If you want to give constructive feedback for our TV series, please send an email to us at email@example.com and we will forward to Discovery. We have not seen one letter sent to Discovery or Animal Planet.
Betsey Bruha, President
The Skunk Whisperer®, Inc.
Truly humane wildlife removal & prevention, done right the first time
[note: This article, yet to date, has made at least six people NOT sign reality TV show contracts that were right in front of them. This was originally written for a Wildlife Management Professional trade magazine.]
Phonebook ads are slowly losing their return on investment in many areas across the US for the past several years. Internet marketing in our industry is becoming more and more creative and more saturated. Television and radio ads cost a bundle. Direct mailing is old fashioned and time consuming. Placing flyers on all the doors in neighborhoods that you want to work is tiresome… but everybody seems to watch “reality” TV shows… ever think about marketing your wildlife or pest management company via a “reality” TV show?
One in approximately ten thousand people who want their own reality TV show obtain what is called a “sizzle”. A sizzle is a dramatic rendition of the show that the producers want to sell to any given TV network. Re-read what I just said, “a dramatic rendition of the show that the producers want”. A producer typically employs a “starter”. A starter is the guy or gal who calls you up and tries to get you excited about what you do for a living and tells you that they can make you a filthy rich TV star and an “American hero”. Once the starter has his treble hook in your heart or mind, he or she turns up the heat. Starters and producers make and sell their product – TV shows, to the many different TV networks. Very few networks work directly with “talent”… that’s you; you are no longer a person at the moment you fall prey to that treble hook, you are now “talent”. Some people say this experience may make a person feel like an expendable item, or at best, a fabricated product… but, oh boy, you’re going to be rich!
One out of approximately one thousand people who get a sizzle made actually get a pilot. A pilot is a single 22 minute TV show shown at several different test venues such as Universal Studios in Florida so the TV network can get a feel as to how the general public reacts to it. In some of these testing facilities, the viewer is given two buttons to push throughout the duration of the show… one for “like” and one for “dislike”. At the end, they fill out a questionnaire and are given a freebee for their troubles. Many of those with good results go on TV during different timeframes in order to gauge public reactions so the network can figure out if your work and the way the producers who brought it to them manipulated it into “good TV”. Some people strategize by getting an offer from a network that directly competes with the network you really want to be on, allowing bargaining rights to bypass the pilot step and go directly into a series.
Of course, a good thing could be that you were the one in ten thousand who got a sizzle. A TV show has the ability to increase business and promote your vision.
A friend once told me this is a line a producer used on him; “We are just going to follow you around with cameras and film what you do every day. You won’t even know we are there. The times we will need you to do special things are slim, and besides, do you know how much money you can make doing this? Let us help turn you into a star and we will all get rich together!” Sound exciting and enticing?!
If it appears as though I skipped over the part about being paid for your time and money spent on the sizzle or pilot, there may be a reason for it. You will almost certainly get at least several grand for your time. The client, to whose home you brought about one dozen out-of-town “Hollywood-type” folks, will often expect your filmed services to be free. Your home repairs and services, gas, all the business lost due to focusing on the “A” story that production wants, your time, employee’s time, client’s time – that is included in that payment to you. As a Wildlife or Pest Management Professional, you can lose a several thousand dollar job in a matter of minutes. What happens if the people answering your phone send you important information but your producer says your smart phone, set to vibrate and only being checked twice an hour for messages, is hurting his or her production?
Let’s pretend you are the key employee in your company or that your role the company you work for is at least somewhat important. What happens when Producers take 100% of your work day… or even only 25% of your work day? Is your business really on auto-pilot without you? Are your employees going to be as productive? When do you get to pay attention to the business? After hours? On the weekend? If one of the weekdays was a holiday, will you have to film on Saturday and/or Sunday so their shooters can get in their 40 hours? Will your clients wait, or go to your competition?
Time is money. I once heard somebody say “Reality TV usually takes at least three or four takes”. A production company is typically made up of an Executive Producer, a Co-producer they “hand-picked special for your show”, several Production Assistants (could be car sales people, a farm hand or college student) and hopefully an audio guru that likes what you do for a living. The guys with cameras are called “shooters”. The fewer shooters there are, the longer it takes to shoot the show and the more times you have to go and ring the doorbell at a clients house on film so they can capture the moment from every angle with only two cameras. Getting out of your service vehicle, greeting your client at their door and starting to talk with your client in their living room can take anywhere between 15 minutes to over an hour. This timeframe sometimes depends upon the crowd of people outside and the number of cars going by getting into the shot, if they saw a production member’s reflection in the glass in the front door and so on. Yes, the client did call at 7AM about the wild animal running around in the house and it is now 11AM, but you had better hurry up and get this portion shot because by law, the crew must take a lunch break in 30 minutes. …stop shooting for a moment, now choose from this take-out menu – what do you want to eat for lunch on card tables set up in your client’s driveway with the film crew today? It’d better be easy and fast to eat – that may be your phone call catch-up time. How much is the employee you now need to pick up your slack going to cost?
You may be a one or three person show, or you may have multiple offices or franchises all over the map. You may already have a bookkeeper, a CPA, a person answering the phones, an I.T. specialist, field employees, an employment attorney, and perhaps a patent, trademark and franchise attorney. What changes because of the potential show? Every industry, like ours, has its own niches, so how much money is that specialized entertainment attorney going to charge to negotiate your contract so you can get that several grand to get a sizzle, pilot or series?
A wise man in the TV production industry once told me that 90% of everything in reality TV is staged and that reality TV Producers will “turn talent against one another for conflict”. A star from a different wildlife management type show said they were asked “No animals running amuck or slithering in a client’s home today? That does not mean that the scenario cannot be arranged overnight. Besides, don’t you want the best show possible? We are all on the same team”. Another professional told me he was called by Producers from a big wildlife “pro” show on TV offering him a lot of money to transport trapped animals across state lines so they could use them in their show. Yet another said “Everything we did was staged. I could not tell you how many laws were broken to give them the footage they wanted”. Will your Producers call your state wildlife or pest licensing agency to ask if something they want to do is illegal? Will they have your competition pick them up at the airport? Will they want to choose who your clients are today?
I may have forgotten to mention the portion about being able to view the “sizzle” or pilot before thousands in a test audience see you in your uniform, providing your services with pride and joy. Was extracurricular footage added to your sizzle or pilot to make it more colorful? Do you really think that the employee that you fired a week ago about whom the Producer said would be “good TV” would represent your company in a positive light when no longer on your payroll and filmed with you not present? Do you think editors have the capability of editing your voice and video to have you say something you never said? What happens if something is edited into something you said within a totally different context and situation? Do you think that technology allows editors to totally fabricate a sentence with the countless hours of audio they now have from you? Do you think editors can make it look like you were actually interacting with a person in a place and time that did not exist? Do you think that dramatic music and fancy editing can end up criminalizing animals or people simply due to editing room tricks? Do you think that it is the editors, producers or networks who want this added drama? Do you think you will get to see any of the footage of any of this before it airs? How does that make you look to the public? To your industry?
Are they going to blur your company name on your uniforms and vehicles? You have how much time and money invested in the show and do not have a sizzle yet?
Do you think networks and producers quietly endorse or encourage “talent” to do “staged” scenes with animals to increase drama and profit margins? What happens if production wants to purposely release live animals in a fake client’s house for you to re-capture on film for “good TV”? Will you do it? What happens if you tell them to pack up their video gear and leave town? Are you in breach of contract at that point or are they?
And the most important question: How much is your integrity worth?