I was the kid waiting outside the wood pile for snakes, the kid who unset mouse traps and brought home field mice in my windbreaker pockets. Parents always know when they have an animal lover, they have to speak softly about dinner preparation – using words like “meat” and “beef” instead of chicken or cow. They have to check coat pockets for frogs and make sure to tap air holes in lids of canning jars. They have to smuggle insects back to the garden and release critters while their animal lovers sleep under their avalanche of stuffed animals.
I am what a grown up animal lover looks like. I have paw prints on my windows and floors, feathers stuck to the heels of my boots. I have hay in my hair and on most days I have a newborn critter tucked in my bra.
Many animal lovers volunteer at Humane Societies and donate their money to the care of cats and dogs but not many people know that there are a handful of people in their community who help raise and release injured and orphaned wild animals. There are also even fewer than a handful of people who take in abused and rescued Farm Animals. I gave up a paying job to do both. In 2010 I moved to Cheshire and started Bluebird Farm Animal Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehab. I work on abuse and hoarding cases, I advocate for animal rights and the Vegan movement and take in and release wild animals.
People often ask me what to do if they see an abused farm animal. REPORT IT. Because the laws in MA are so weak in their protection of Farm Animal rights you need to be persistent and proactive. Call the MSPCA, call your local Dog Officer, Call the Dept. of Agriculture , call the newspaper, call rescues, call neighbors… Take photos from a public access. Make a record of all abuse.
People also ask me what to do if they find an orphan or injured wild animal.
-The first thing you need to evaluate is whether the animal is in immediate danger, if its in the road, injured, or in other danger. Use gloves, a box, shovel or other tool to move the animal out of harms way. Use your judgement as to how much danger the animal poses to you, never put yourself in danger of being bit or hit by a car etc.
– The second thing you will need to evaluate is whether the animal is indeed orphaned or just waiting for its mother. Sometimes birds fledge or fall out of the nest and can be gently placed back in the nest or a makeshift nest can be made and tacked on the the same tree etc. Many animals only visit their young at dawn and dusk- like deer and rabbits. To check and see if a mother rabbit is visiting her young place an X made from dental floss over the top of the nest. If the X has been disturbed the mother is probably visiting the nest. If you uncover a nest, cover it back up and leave it alone being sure to keep pets away from the area.
– You should always try to reunite animals with their mothers first before removing them from the area. You can place the animal in a box with a hand warmer and a blanket, or under a low laundry basket. Make sure the baby is kept warm and out of the weather but as near to the sight where you found them as possible.
– DO NOT EVER FEED orphaned or injured wildlife, you will do much more harm than good. Young babies can easily aspirate on liquids and most babies cannot eat solids yet. I have had to euthanize more wildlife from improper feeding than of injury.
– DO NOT PET, HANDLE OR EXPOSE PETS OR CHILDREN TO WILDLIFE. Even though they are adorable and hard to resist wildlife can carry a host of parasites and diseases that can be spread to humans and other animals just by merely touching them.
– If the animal has an obvious injury bring it directly to a veterinary Hospital that treats wildlife (call to check first).
– Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, not your animal loving friend, not your friend that’s a vet tech or your aunt who had a pet squirrel. You can find a list of local rehabbers through your state’s Fish and Wildlife government web site, or by calling them directly.
– Lastly, please leave a donation for your wildlife rehabilitator. They are a volunteer for the state, they pay for the animal’s care out of pocket and rely solely on donations. Wildlife rehab is expensive, for example one litter of Raccoons can cost approximately $400 to raise to release, a nest of baby birds can cost $80, a litter of groundhogs can cost $1500. A litter of squirrels-$200…. Every dollar helps!
If you would like to support Bluebird Farm Animal Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehab or you need our help you can find us on Facebook at Bluebird Farm(Cara Petricca/Animal Sanctuary), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Cara at (413) 446-3345
If you’d like to send a donation checks should be made to :
631 Outlook Ave.
Cheshire , MA