In August 2012, PETA was contacted by a whistleblower who had
been volunteering for several months as an animal care assistant for a licensed
wildlife rehabilitator operating out of her Florida home. Cruelty Investigations
Department
staffers urged the whistleblower to document her report that ill, injured, and
orphaned wild animals taken into the home were living in utter squalor and that
the rehabilitator left animals to languish without food or water.

Wretched ‘Rehab’

The shocking conditions depicted in footage taken by the
whistleblower over the course of three weeks included the following:

  • A hairless baby raccoon was lying on top of a scale, inside a cluttered office without heat or bedding.
    Two days later, the same animal, then near death, was in the same place.
  • Numerous baby squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons were
    stashed inside boxes or on top of the boxes with no obvious heat source. Later,
    the animals were in the same spots, badly dehydrated and dying—or dead.
  • A live juvenile squirrel was wrapped inside a
    plastic bag and stashed behind several boxes.
  • The rehabber’s refrigerator contained, at times,
    30 or more unwrapped bodies of juvenile rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons inside the door and in tubs.
  • A barred owl was stranded in a bathtub,
    surrounded by her own waste.
  • Turtles were kept for days inside boxes that didn’t
    appear to have been opened, with no sign that the animals were provided with
    food or water.
  • A river otter was housed in a small pen with
    only a little kid’s pool as a source of water for drinking and swimming.
  • About a dozen deer were penned inside a debris-strewn
    yard amid trash, animal crates, construction materials, and a boat.

Demanding Justice

PETA alerted state and federal wildlife officials, sparking
an investigation whose findings corroborated the whistleblower’s reports and led
to the confiscation of numerous suffering turtles, tortoises, and birds.

With PETA pushing for action, the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission filed 23 charges against the rehabber for animal neglect, improper animal housing, and
unsanitary conditions. The state attorney’s office also charged her with one
count of maintaining wildlife in unsanitary conditions.

Following a plea bargain, the woman
ceased the pretense of rehabilitating animals, and the survivors were removed
from her care for release back into the wild or transfer to other facilities
better equipped to meet their needs.

What You Can Do

Even well-meaning animal rescuers can become overwhelmed.
Worse, many out-of-control hoarders use rescue as a pretext, causing massive suffering for the animals who fall
into their hands. If you become aware of animals suffering in a supposed rescue
or rehab facility, please document conditions with a camera or camera phone and
report the perpetrators to
local authorities

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Article source: PETA Files

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