WILMINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — Chicago area residents are having a real problem with skunks.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, at the Whalon Lake Forest Preserve in Will County, people up early said they know neighbors who have their dogs sprayed by skunks recently.

READ MORE: Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Arrested And Charged After Manhunt

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

Not far away, in Joliet, city officials discussed the issue at a recent city council meeting, where residents say the animals are a problem.

Joliet resident Kathy Molitor calls the skunk numbers epidemic. When the sun goes down, she gets her flashlight to make sure her dog Rocky is not in spray range.  Molitor says she’s actually had to pull him away from skunks on the prowl.

“It’s scary.  They’re very bold,” she tells CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman says.  “When they see you, they have no problem coming to the patio door.”

Licensed skunk trapper Leon Bilbrew of Ace In The Hole Wildlife Control says skunks like to burrow under places like porches – something to look out for.

READ MORE: 12 Family Members Diagnosed With COVID-19 After Attending Milwaukee Wedding, 5 With Omicron Variant

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the state’s skunk population has doubled over the past few years.

Skunks are non-aggressive, but will spray their musk when agitated or defensive. They warn they are about to spray by stomping their front feet and raising their tails with the fur fully extended, the University of Illinois explained.

Skunks can direct their spray up to 10 feet, and some of it can reach 20 feet.

The U of I advises mixing a quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap – and no water – to remove skunk odor. It can be used to wash clothes, human skin, or pets that have been sprayed by skunks, although the peroxide may lighten pets’ fur.

MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Rain Sunday, Flurries Monday

Tomato juice is also an old folk remedy for skunk odor, but several sources point out that the juice merely masks the smell rather than neutralizing it.