Jul 31, 2009

Raccoon Release

Pumkin and Sandra Released!

I'm going to miss those 2 girls! But I couldn't have found a better place!

Judy, the property owner, had found Sandra when she was a baby and brought her to me to raise. She and Pumkin became sisters. Pumkin and Sandra are both 5 months old now and more than ready to move out into the big world.

So Judy offered her property right by a river in midst a heavily wooded area for a release place. She will continue to put food out for them and offer them a safe place to come to, if the world gets too scary out there, until they are ready to be on their own.

Thank you Judy, you are a doll! And thank you, Jackie, for driving me...again!

Jul 26, 2009

Raccoon Family burned alive in Texas!

Raccoon Family burned alive in Texas!

July 24, 2009

From The Raccoon Cabin:

Animal cruelty is animal cruelty whether it is a wild animal or a domestic one. They ALL feel pain and suffering. Today The Raccoon Cabin received a 10 week old baby raccoon with burns on all four feet, melted whiskers, and burns on his nose and rear.

Mr. Clayton from Masters Service, a local pest control company, brought him in. He stated that, "another pest control company he believed to be called Critter Ridder was hired by a family to remove a mother and babies from their chimney". After harassing the animal family for an hour or so they still could not get the raccoon family out, so they decided to block the chimney and then lit a fire in the fire place to burn them alive!!!

The family claimed they did not know this horror was being done until it was too late. The mother and her babies were burned to death and left in the chimney. After the company left the family discovered one was still alive and certainly injured so they called Master Services and asked if they could please remove the injured baby.

Mr. Clayton said he removed the dead mother and other babies himself, caught this one and brought it to me, as I am a licensed local wildlife rehabilitator. I have worked with Mr. Clayton before and believe he is telling the truth that it was another company that torched and burned alive this mama and babies. I asked him for the name and address where this happened. He called his boss and was informed not to give me the information. They said they would call and ask the resident if they could release that information. As of Sunday, June 26th, I have not heard back from anyone.

This is an outrage and nothing more than animal cruelty! Pest control or not they need to be prosecuted for this horrid act. They are required to be trained to handle these situations better and could have. This is not the first time I have seen horrid acts like this from our local pest control companies, in fact that is how I became a rehabber. My husband saved 3 little raccoons when a pest control company was drowning them in a bucket of water and I could not find a rehabber to take them to as there are too few and those that do were all full. These inhumane acts are taking place everyday and MUST be stopped!!

Our little "Charcoal" is doing a somewhat better now, but infections can set in easily with burns, as well as lung problems due to smoke inhalation, so it is going to be a long recovery for him and require several trips back and forth to the vets office. He is currently on antibiotics and burn creams, we are praying this will be enough to get him through. Charcoal is also traumatized emotionally; he will never be the same. It will most likely be a difficult rehabbing situation from beginning to end.

I must ask "who is the varmint in this case"? Little Charcoal only wanted a warm, dry place to sleep and in short time the mama would have moved the family to the woods. The pest control people who cold-heartedly burn his mother and sibling to death in front of him should be charged and prosecuted. They collect a fee for their services; I volunteer my time and money to help the animals and this state, and should not have to deal with such inhumane treatment of citizen owned animals.

Help us to bring this to the media's attention!! This cruelty must stop!!!!

Battle cry, urgent because Old news is not newsworthy to the media - below are numbers to contact and report this "raccoons burned alive" story. PLEASE! Everyone call and bombard the news desks about The Wildlife Rehabilitator who SAVED this baby who endured his mama, brothers and sisters being burned alive TRAPPED in a chimney deliberately by a pest control company.
* Janie is a professional every bit as much as the exterminator and deserves attention to what she has to deal with emotionally and financially from such inhumane, sadistic acts that laws should not allow.
* Use words like "his family", his mama, brothers, sisters (vs "litter mates")
* "If this is not illegal, it sure should be - NOW!" (be sure to mention that the animals were trapped (could not escape).
* Play the media's game, be as "sensationalistic" as they always are! horrific! outraged! beyond cruel....
Give them contact name -- Janie Oney contact # 281 804-8783
  • (713) 526-6284

  • KHOU-TV Channel 11
    Houston Herald editor@houstonherald.com but call too! 417-967-2000
    Houston Chronicle Telephone: 713-362-7171 Fax: 713-362-3575

    Volunteers for Animal Protection, Inc. Kingwood, TX 77325 (281) 358-9818

    ASPCA email: lobby@aspca.org
    Little Charcoal is counting on us, please tell his story with as much outrage as you can.

    Jul 25, 2009


    Hello: You have reached the Our County Animal Shelter. Due to the high volume of calls we have been receiving, please listen closely to the following options and choose the one that best describes you or your situation:
    • Press 1 if you have a 10-year-old dog and your 15-year-old son has suddenly become allergic and you need to find the dog a new home right away.

    • Press 2 if you are moving today and need to immediately place your 150 pound, 8-year-old dog.

    • Press 3 if you have three dogs, had a baby and want to get rid of your dogs because you are the only person in the world to have a baby and dogs at the same time.

    • Press 4 if you just got a brand new puppy and your old dog is having problems adjusting so you want to get rid of the old one right away.

    • Press 5 if your little puppy has grown up and is no longer small and cute and you want to trade it in for a new model.

    • Press 6 if you want an unpaid volunteer to come to your home TODAY and pick up the dog you no longer want.

    • Press 7 if you have been feeding and caring for a "stray" for the last three years, are moving and suddenly determine it's not your dog.

    • Press 8 if your dog is sick and needs a vet but you need the money for your vacation.

    • Press 9 if you are elderly and want to adopt a cute puppy who is not active and is going to outlive you.

    • Press 10 if your relative has died and you don't want to care for their elderly dog because it doesn't fit your lifestyle.

    • Press 14 if you are calling at 6 a.m. to make sure you wake me up before I have to go to work so you can drop a dog off on your way to work.

    • Press 15 to leave us an anonymous garbled message, letting us know you have left a dog in our yard in the middle of January, which is in fact, better than just leaving the dog with no message.

    • Press 16 if you are going to get angry because we are not going to take your dog that you have had for fifteen years, because it is not our responsibility.

    • Press 17 if you are going to threaten to take your ten year old dog to be euthanized because I won't take it.

    • Press 18 if you're going to get angry because the volunteers had the audacity to go on vacation and leave the dogs in care of a trusted volunteer who is not authorized to take your personal pet.

    • Press 19 if you want one of our PERFECTLY trained, housebroken, kid and cat friendly purebred dogs that we have an abundance of.

    • Press 20 if you want us to take your dog that has a slight aggression problem, i.e. has only bitten a few people and killed your neighbor's cats.

    • Press 21 if you have already called once and been told we don't take personal surrenders but thought you would get a different person this time with a different answer.

    • Press 22 if you want us to use space that would go to a stray to board your personal dog while you are on vacation, free of charge, of course.

    • Press 23 if it is Christmas Eve or Easter morning and you want me to deliver an eight week old puppy to your house by 6:30 am before your kids wake up.

    • Press 24 if you have bought your children a duckling, chick or baby bunny for Easter and it is now Christmas and no longer cute.

    • Press 25 if you want us to take your female dog who has already had ten litters, but we can't spay her because she is pregnant again and it is against your religion.

    • Press 26 if you're lying to make one of our younger volunteers feel bad and take your personal pet off your hands.

    • Press 27 if your cat is biting and not using the litter box because it is declawed, but you are not willing to accept the responsibility that the cat's behavior is altered because of your nice furniture.

    • Press 28 if your two year old male dog is marking all over your house but you just haven't gotten around to having him neutered.

    • Press 29 if you previously had an outdoor only dog and are calling because she is suddenly pregnant.

    • Press 30 if you have done "everything" to housebreak your dog and have had no success but you don't want to crate the dog because it is cruel.

    • Press 31 if you didn't listen to the message asking for an evening phone number and you left your work number when all volunteers are also working and you are angry because no one called you back.

    • Press 32 if you need a puppy immediately and cannot wait because today is your daughter's birthday and you forgot when she was born.

    • Press 33 if your dog's coat doesn't match your new furniture and you need a different color or breed.

    • Press 34 if your new love doesn't like your dog and you are too stupid to get rid of the new friend (who will dump you in the next month anyway) instead of the dog.

    • Press 35 if you went through all these 'options' and didn't hear enough. This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog while the vet mercifully frees him from the grief of missing his family.

    Jul 23, 2009

    Sara's Introduction Continues

    It's all going according to plan..well almost.

    An hour ago it was feeding time. Sara is the only one drinking formula out of a bowl. The Abilenians still take the bottle and the 3 bigger ones don't care about formula anymore. They want real food.

    But if you think that any of my six can so much as look at a bowl Sara has claimed as hers and get away with it, you are mistaken!

    ALL 6 came running when Sara let out that growl spread eagled over her precious bowl, and tried to climb up my legs.

    Now you have to picture this (thank goodness I didn't have the camera with me!):

    I prefer to wear scrubs in this heat. They are so easy to wash and easy to put on with just a rubber band holding it up. But that rubber band could not withstand 6 raccoons!!!

    Before I knew it I had my pants around my ankles (yes, I wore underwear!), struggling to keep my balance, hands full of bottles and a couple of raw eggs go flying everywhere, while my 6 are STILL trying to climb up my legs, holding on to my bare skin! I step on the edge of one of the metal bowls which flips up and over and splatters poo poo water all over us too with a big loud bang!

    Sara however couldn't care less, she never even stopped drinking her formula.

    No more shaving legs for at least a week for this scratching post...ouch!! lol

    Now they are all chilling out on a shelf by a big piece of ice:

    Sandy in front, Pumkin hugging the ice, Rocky sniffing the ice, Abilenians in the hammock and back, Sara between the board and screen.

    Pumkin chillin next to Sandra

    Lena checking out what's going on

    Ian sits on Pumkin

    Sara is not so sure yet

    But wants to come out and play too.

    Sara's Introduction

    The new raccoon, another female I named Sara, has completed her quarantine today, so I introduced her to the other 6 raccoons outside.

    I placed her crate inside the enclosure for an hour before I opened the door. Here's what happened:

    I had to stop filming because it started raining, but half an hour later, all 7 are sleeping together in the hammocks!

    Jul 22, 2009

    How to kill a Sparrow

    I received a phone call yesterday from a local lady. Somebody gave her 2 baby sparrows. She said they are getting annoying in the house and the kids got tired playing with them.

    I already had a bad feeling...kids playing with birds? I agreed to take them and asked her to please take the birds to my rescue.

    A few minutes later I observed 4 kids of around 12 years of age walking down the street, jumping around, bending over every few feet to pick something up off the street.

    Turned out these where the little sparrows trying to get away from the kids.

    They handed me the birds and I took them inside to check them out.

    Both where nearly starved to death, dehydrated, overheated and completely exhausted. They were just sitting there with their eyes closed, too weak to eat or drink.
    They died less than an hour later.

    I find this one of the most horrible animal cruelty issues, but in reality it was "just" ignorance, lack of knowledge, and the total absence of common sense. The outcome was the same. It caused these baby birds to die a horrible death.

    So my advice is: Leave baby birds alone!!!!

    If you have to intervene because you KNOW a bird is orphaned, place it in a box, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, and DO NOT handle it. Birds are scared of people and playing and handling it will stress it out. I have seen many birds die of simple stress and it's not pretty.

    For more information on birds and how you can help, please read the following:

    Thank you for caring.

    Jul 20, 2009

    Know your Neighborhood Wildlife - The Raccoon

    July 20, 2009

    Most folks in the US and Erath County have encountered the resourceful raccoon, or at least have dealt with the mess or damage these furry creatures leave behind in their foraging activities. But coexisting with these intelligent animals is not so much of a nuisance once you understand their place in the ecosystem.

    Raccoons are medium sized mammals but do not belong to the rodent family.

    They are loosely related to the red panda bear and can be found almost anywhere in Texas and throughout the US where there is water and food.

    Like the black bear, the raccoon is opportunistic and insatiably curious. If you find yourself outwitted by a raccoon, don’t take it personally. The raccoon’s intelligence is second only to higher primates, according to researchers at Purdue University. Studies have shown that raccoons are able to remember the solution to tasks several years later.

    While raccoons control populations of rodents, reptiles, insects, and snakes, they also add berries, fruits and vegetables to their diet, as well as poison ivy berries, controlling the spread of this noxious plant. According to legend, raccoons are fearless feeders that will eat an entire wasp nest or even gang up on a rattlesnake. Humans, coyotes, mountain lions, and birds of prey are the raccoon’s natural predators. Raccoon

    Possession of a raccoon is illegal in Texas, but permits are available through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for wildlife rehabilitators and researchers. These laws have not stopped a few well-meaning folks from attempting to raise a raccoon as a pet, which typically has a tragic ending. The animal becomes destructive while deprived of its natural habitat or law enforcement intervenes, confiscates and euthanizes the animal while issuing a hefty citation to the owner.


    Although exceptional climbers, very clever, and gifted with an excellent sense of smell, the life span of a raccoon in the wild rarely exceeds two to four years.

    Some of the primary hazards faced by raccoons include hunting, trapping, dogs, and automobiles, and a lack of understanding or tolerance for their instinctual behavior.

    It seems more than mere evolution that they wear a distinctive bandit mask, as anyone who has been a victim of their food seeking behavior can attest.

    If you desire to keep wild animals away from your property, the raccoon may give you a challenge. Ammonia soaked rags or ground red pepper near entrances will help, later sealing the entry. Be sure to give a mother time to remove her babies lest you trap them and cause yourself a worse mess. In time, when the babies are older, they will all move out anyway.

    Obviously, figuring out how to secure pet food and trash cans is your best bet – and challenge. A simple bungee cord is no match for the wise and dexterous raccoon!

    To be sure, generations before us managed to coexist with wildlife, and survived all the risks and fears that are still with us today, such as the myth about raccoons as carriers of disease. There has only been one confirmed case of a rabies infected raccoon in Erath County since 2001 and that was accredited to a skunk bite. Human rabies deaths are nearly zero in the US, except for a few unfortunate victims bit by a rabid dog while visiting a foreign country.

    Most wildlife experts agree that distributing rabies vaccine into the wildlife population using bait is the most effective prevention method for permanent eradication of the virus.

    Rabies vaccine oral bait drop programs have been used in affected areas thru the US with tremendous success.

    Raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes are called RVS species, or rabies vector species, meaning they are susceptible to this disease if they are not vaccinated.


    According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the unvaccinated population (humans, unregistered pets, other mammals and rodents) must be infected by the saliva or bite from a rabies infected animal in the contagious phase of the disease. A rabid animal is only considered “contagious” when the disease has affected the brain. At this late stage, the animal is noticeably ill.

    Rabies in wild animals can only be determined by sending its brain to a lab for testing. Hundreds of thousands of brains are submitted; relatively few return a positive result. Yet each year some 25,000 people receive post-exposure “just in case” rabies shots which can skew statistics. But testing is a costly process for the US.

    Because rabies is a potentially fatal health concern, experts encourage simple preventive measures such as vaccinating pets and not handling wildlife.

    Parasites are another potential hazard, although wild raccoons are immune to it, but do sometimes carry, what is malignly called “the raccoon roundworm”, or Baylisascaris procyonis.


    In reality, over 90 species of both wild and domestic animals can host this roundworm. Keeping pets dewormed is common sense, also not eating poop, which may be a concern for small children.

    To date, less than 30 cases of B. procyonis have ever been recorded in humans in the US.

    Contrary to popular belief, observing a raccoon out during daylight hours does not mean the animal is ill. Although nocturnal animals, by definition, never venture out during the day, it is common for mother raccoons and adventurous youngsters to be seen in the daytime, particularly in neighborhoods with little threat of danger.

    A sick animal will show obvious symptoms. Raccoons pant and can even sweat when overheated. Distemper disease is often mistaken for rabies in raccoons. The best way to prevent distemper is to vaccinate all cats and on regular basis.

    If you encounter a sick, injured, or possibly orphaned animal, you can find a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website. If the animal is not in immediate danger from predators or the elements, leave the animal there until you speak with a rehabilitator. They are volunteers of the state trained to assist wildlife and will give you the best advice possible. Those who work with wild animals will tell you – they have never met an aggressive animal, only a scared one.

    Erath County has its own licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Birgit Sommer is the director of the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit organization, located on the south-east side of Stephenville. If you have any questions about local wildlife or found an injured or orphaned animal, you can obtain important information on her website located at www.rainbowwildlife.com or call her at 968 - 4626.


    Let us not forget that raccoons have but one goal – to survive. After all, snakes, mice, and poison ivy berries are the real nuisances we are much better without.

    Thank you to KATHERINE McGILL, who provided the groundwork for this article. You can visit her Sunchaser Wildlife Website HERE!

    Thank you Tom Piperson for the editing and final polishing!

    Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is the property of the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue. The RWR holds all copyright interests in such material, unless specifically indicated. Permission to reprint is given with credit to the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue and noted authors.

    Jul 19, 2009

    Jul 16, 2009

    Raccoons in Pictures


    The Abilenians

    Pumkin, Rocky and Sandra

    Pumkin playing with ice

    Rocky likes it cold too

    Pumkin is looking for more ice

    Jul 14, 2009

    Jul 13, 2009

    Rocky and the Abileneians

    I'm in the process of introducing the two different groups of raccoons that are living in 2 separate enclosures. Each group consists of 3 raccoons. One group is 12, 14 and 15 weeks old, the other group is from one litter and they are 9 weeks old.

    I wasn't about to dump them all into one enclosure and hope for the best, so I figured I take the youngest of the older group, Rocky, and put her with the little ones...OMG. What a growling, barking, huffin and puffin! And as soon as I'm out of the door, Rocky cries bloody murder!

    I have no experience with this, so I can't tell when it's all show or when it gets serious, so I've been sitting in the enclosure most of the day with a cup of coffee, sweating, observing, with the camera of course, and interfering when I thought it was going to get ugly.

    I put a pool out, which the 3 youngest ones, the Abilenians, have not seen yet but it's familiar to Rocky. I figured it might be helpful to her to see something she knew.

    and then I decided to let them meet:

    Lena and Ian play-fighting

    It'll take a while until all 6 get along, I can see that already, but I have all week to get the 3 older coons in with the little ones so we can work on the enclosure flooring next weekend, putting down these babies:

    Jul 12, 2009

    The Abilenian Raccoons Outdoors

    The 3 Abilenians are now 9 weeks old and have moved permanently outside now.

    They stay in the smaller enclosure right now until I have finished to lay out the new floor with the bricks I had delivered yesterday:

    I'm still looking for a couple of volunteers to help me with this! Call me if you are local (at 968 - 4626) and have a couple of hours early in the morning before it gets too hot!

    Once the large enclosure floor is finished, I will put all 6 raccoons together for the first time. I can't wait! Of course I will have the camera ready for that event!

    Jul 9, 2009

    Rocky, Sandra, Pumkin, orphaned raccoons are growing

    The 3 girls are growing like weeds! All three are completely weaned now. Rocky, who had me worried a few times during the first couple of weeks, has refused the bottle for 3 days now and is starting to gain weight.

    This weekend I am going to buy concrete slabs and will lay them out in the enclosure, so I can just hose it down and keep it cleaner. It's such a mess! Can't wait to just hose it down. The girls love to play with the spraying water..I'm considering buying a sprinkler just for them LOL.

    The Abilenians are outside for the 3rd straight day and night now and are enjoying themselves climing! Movie will follow within the next days!

    Jul 8, 2009

    The Climbing Chihuahua Puppy

    Coco's last girl is about to leave the nest. She is the trouble maker of the litter and is going to be quite a hand full lol:

    Jul 7, 2009

    Puppies and Birds

    Above you see the 2 white winged doves, a mockingbird and a robin. The mockingbird was released this morning.

    Below you see the last 3 of Coco's puppies. Coco and the other 3 puppies are already adopted out to their new homes. These other 3 will leave this Friday:

    Jul 5, 2009

    Wildlife Appreciation

    Over the last hundred years, the western world has undergone a dramatic shift from a rural society to urban technology. Today the only experience most people have with animals is with their domestic pets.
    It is no wonder wildlife knowledge and appreciation has declined. Susceptible to misinformation on methods of husbandry, wildlife conservation, disease fact distortion - especially when sensationalized by the media - often disturb the public more than the abstract problems they are designed to alleviate.

    Sensationalism, lack of proper education and extreme regulations spawn broad misunderstandings and complicates efforts to find remedies for genuine problems.

    The grossly limited fundamental nature of education by most state wildlife agencies is to simply tell the public not to feed wildlife, to secure their pet food and trash, and to not dare go near an animal - while they insure in their minds the animal is certainly diseased.

    This group, made fearful, will be the ones to call the state or pest control each time they see any wild animal near their home. They will shoot, trap, poison and harm at any opportunity. Their fear and actions result in wasted agency time, challenges for rehabilitators, harm to other innocent animals, and a new generation of people who will inherently also live in fear as a result of ignorance.

    To the other extreme lies the belief among the common educators that the public actually caring for wild animals will incur improper feeding, possession and related such issues.

    Such issues will always exist and always have, for among the city-gone-rural population there will always be caring hearts and misguided intentions.

    The caring group truly needs educated just as badly. Only proper education can provide any such knowledge. This group has not and will not comply, nor buy the all-out disease distorted brainwashing. This group must be made to understand the risks to the actual wild animal, the risk to their own domestic pets, and further - giving them opportunity in HOW to truly help wildlife will best serve them – and wildlife.

    These are people who can extend proper education, become volunteers for many various conservation groups, and even teach others in matters like backyard habitat creation, safety, and “nuisance” advice.

    With proper education comes the opportunity to merge these two groups into a new generation of citizens who appreciate and respect wild animals, who know the specific reasons why they should not trap and relocate, why they should not feed, what the TRUE risks are of possession, and much more.

    While every person can’t be educated as such, and every animal can’t be helped, for even one person or one animal, it can make ALL the difference in their world.

    Credit: http://www.sunchaserwildlife.com

    Jul 4, 2009

    The Dirty Robin

    Here is a good example of how people that mean well and "rescue" a bird end up doing more harm than good.

    This Robin was brought to me a few days ago by a lady who had picked up the baby at a park. She went online and found some fancy bird food recipes and mixed up some kind of soup of eggs and I don't know what.

    She didn't get much into the bird but rather over it. She tried to clean it, but did not realize that feathers are very sensitive and complex structures that require careful handling. Damaged or missing feathers will prevent the bird from regulating it's body temperature and in this heat, that is very much necessary for survival.

    So this is what the Robin looked like when I got it:

    All feathers were glued and caked together and greasy. The picture doesn't bring it across very well. It was much worse than it looked like. Poor thing was totally stressed out, trembling, and in pain because those hardened feathers keep tucking on the already exposed skin.

    I hated to stress out the bird even more, but I didn't have much of a choice. I ran some warm water and Dawn dish wash detergent and off we went. It took us quite a while, but we worked through all feathers as much as we could. Some came out right away. It was painful and painstaking for both of us!

    The robin also pooped clear water, which was another big clue that whatever she got to eat was worth just that, clear water. I was fearing MBD (metabolic bone disease) because the bird was also kept inside for 3 days. That long without direct sunlight or a substitute light can be enough to do the damage.

    But now, 3 days later, the Robin is outside and doing great. She still looks rather pathetic with her naked 'vulture' neck, but she can hold her own temp, the feathers don't hurt her anymore and hopefully the missing ones can come back.

    There's no sign MBD and she's eating fine. Pheeeeeeeeeew! That was a close call!

    Sad part is: I shouldn't have gotten the bird in the first place!

    Why? Because a nest is not a safe homey place for a bird to grow up. It's an open invitation to predators such as hawks and cats. So the bird, as soon as it can get around, it'll get out of the nest. It'll try to fly but it doesn't always work yet.

    So it can happen that a fledgling spends a few days on the ground where there is more room to hide. The parents will continue to feed their babies, but of course will fly away if people approach.

    They see the apparently abandoned baby and literally steal it from their parents believing they are rescuing it.


    Unless there is immediate danger of course. Then put the baby in a basked and hang it in the nearest tree out of direct sunlight.

    It is a MYTH that mother bird won't take their babies back once humans have "messed" with it. Most birds are not capable of smelling and really don't care who touched the baby. Just give it back to it's parents!

    Seeing that lady all proud of having 'rescued' the bird, I felt bad for bursting her bubbles and telling her that she did just about everything wrong that there was to do wrong. Just like I did way back, which led to the decision to become a wildlife rehabber. Took a mockingbird losing it's life to MBD, but it was not in vain.

    Jul 2, 2009

    Rainbow Wildlife Summer Newsletter

    A very HOT Summer 2009 at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue

    158 animals were admitted to the RWR in 2009 so far
    My name is Birgit Sommer. I am a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for the State of Texas, director of the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue in Stephenville, TX , as well as a volunteer and foster parent for the Erath County Humane Society.

    I, like many other licensed wildlife rehabilitators, work out of my own home and volunteer my time and just about every spare cent I can gather towards animal rescue efforts and public wildlife education.

    No local or state funding is available for animal caging, veterinary care, medicine and food.

    orphaned raccoon

    That's why most rehabilitators gratefully accept donations towards the care of animals they receive from the public.

    Some folks find the idea of wildlife rehabilitation ridiculous or claim it's "messing with nature". These folks neglect to see that most wildlife related calls that require our human intervention ARE the direct result of unnatural conditions such as careless behavior of people, toxins, poisons, automobiles, guns, traps, lawn mowers, to name just a few.

    Often we are confronted with animals that have suffered traumatic wounds and horrific injuries. Some animals come in poisoned, shot, injured by cars and left for dead by humans. The stories and cases are endless and heartbreaking.

    We, as wildlife rehabilitators, are dedicated warriors on the front lines between suburban development and natural habitat and are grateful for every bit of support we can get.

    We need your HELP!

    One morning last week, I was outside in the large enclosure, bottle-feeding Rocky, one of the 3 female raccoons living outside, when I glanced over to the neighbor's back yard and froze on the spot! This guy was aiming a BB gun at trees and shooting away happily! His toddler grandchildren were playing catch around his legs.

    When I saw the first squirrel fall I was already so mad, that I had interrupted feeding Rocky and marched outside to call the police, because I knew for a fact that discharging a gun of any kind inside the city limits is illegal. Leave alone with small children running around.

    The old man received a citation from the police, but I started to get very scared that he might feel like aiming his gun at my cages next time he gets the urge to take out his guns. After all, they are passionate hunters and just shake their heads about what I am doing here. To them I'm a complete joke. To me they are cruel and have no regards for life.

    orphaned raccoon

    So I spent all the money I had for July on privacy fence panels, poles, plywood, nails etc..

    It was just enough to partially cover the side of the property behind the enclosures to block out the neighbor's view.

    And prevent the older kids in the neighborhood from noticing the raccoons, because they "make such keeeewl pets" and "how much do you want for one?". Any attempt to explain or reason with them falls on deaf ears. Kids!

    Now the coonies have more shade, are better protected and I can sleep a bit better.

    This is one reason why I see myself forced to do a fundraiser this month. A lot of things have piled up during the past few months, that I was not able to take care of, because I had over a 100 animals to take care of first!!!

    The most pressing items are as follows and are listed by priority:

    • 50 bags of Concrete for the large enclosure floor ($200)
    • Feline and Canine Distemper vaccines - (25 shots of each = $300)
    • Antibiotics Refills (clavamox and amoxil) - ($60)
    • Advantage Flea Prevention for Puppies - ($50)
    • 4 more Privacy Fence Panels 4x4x10 poles - ($250)
    • Drontal prescription de-wormer refill - ($90)
    • and various items such as Purina Kitten Chow, canned dog food, Purina Puppy Chow, rawhide bones, wood shavings, bark and shavings, cat litter, Timothy hay, fresh produce, detergent, bleach, towels, fluffy blankets, etc - ($100)

    There are a few reasons why the large enclosure needs a concrete floor rather yesterday than tomorrow. At the moment only 3 raccoons are residing in that enclosure, but in 2 weeks three more raccoons will follow.

    Having a dirt floor covered with wood shavings is nearly impossible to keep clean, leave alone disinfecting it.

    The animals carry food around, eliminate in different spots and the insects are having a field day. The flies are horrible, ants are invading the place, mosquito's and fleas are present as well.

    large enclosure

    There is no way I can bleach a dirt floor. I had tried to put plywood down, but since the raccoons use a lot of water, the wood is constantly wet and I keep slipping.

    A concrete floor would allow me to simply bleach and hose everything down.

    Another huge hurdle that needs to be overcome is finding volunteers to help me mix the concrete and lay a somewhat leveled floor that will drain well. If you are local and know how to "play" with concrete or know of a company that might donate it's supplies and/or services, give me a call!!!

    If you want make donation or purchase any of the needed items and have them shipped directly to the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue, please click HERE!

    Alternatively you can mail a check to the following address:

    Rainbow Wildlife Rescue
    502 E. Clifton
    Stephenville, TX 76401

    Phone: (254) 968 - 4626
    Email: help@rainbowwildlife.com

    What else is happening?

    Raccoons, birds, opossums, cottontail rabbits, dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and even a couple of published newspaper articles!

    coco puppy

    Lets start with Coco Banana, the pregnant Chihuahua that was thrown over the fence at the Humane Society and ended up in my care.

    Five weeks ago she gave birth to 6 beautiful and healthy puppies that all look just like her.

    I'm happy to say that we found great homes for all puppies and even Coco herself!!! They will remain at the RWR for another couple of weeks before going to their forever homes.

    Animal Control presented me with a very weak orphaned kitten 2 weeks after the puppies were born. The kitten had a hard time nursing from the bottle and since she appeared to be same age as the puppies, I offered the kitten to Coco and she adopted her without hesitation.

    I named the kitten "Puppy" just to make the confusion perfect! Puppy spent 2 weeks with Coco and her litter.

    Then the puppies outgrew her and she had to be removed. She is now in foster care with other real kittens.

    orphaned raccoon

    Thanks to my friend Loree, who has been such a great help with fostering the kittens, she's going to have a great start in life. THANKS LOREE!!!!!

    While I am in the thank you mode, I want to say a very special THANK YOU to Tom Piperson!! He has been my backbone through all of the writing and publishing related ordeals! Thanks to his talents and skills, we were able to reach the public through newspaper articles and spread wildlife awareness as well as clearing up a lot of misconceptions. Thank you Tom, you are a true friend!

    Psssssst, don't tell anybody yet, but Tom and I are discussing writing a book together! *wink wink*

    Our newest articles are covering the rabies virus and the misconception surrounding it. The shorter version, suited for Erath County, was published in the Empire Tribune on Sunday, June 28, but they didn't put it online so you can read it HERE. The longer version is available for reading HERE.

    Last but not least, a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU goes to my husband for his never ending support and sacrificing his weekends to help me with repairs and tasks that I can't do by myself!


    orphaned raccoon

    Birds that were admitted to the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue since mid March 2009: 7 White-winged Doves, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Great horned Owls, 2 Black Vultures, 2 Mockingbirds, 1 Burrowing Owl, 4 Sparrows, 2 Grackles, 3 Phoebes, 3 Mourning Doves, 4 Starlings, 1 Killdeer, 1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 5 Blue Jays, and 2 Robins. That's a total of 41 birds!

    Many of the birds were transferred to an experienced avian rehabilitator in a neighboring county, some were raised and released here, and some did not survive.

    Raccoons and Opossums

    This has been the year of raccoons and opossums for me! I have already released over 40 opossums!

    6 orphaned raccoons are currently residing at the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue as you have gathered by now, if you actually read this far down (thank you for that!).

    They have literally stolen my heart! There are 5 girls and 1 boy from four different litters and different ages.

    3 of the older girls named Pumkin (the oldest and sweetest, weaned), Sandra (2nd oldest and very feisty, weaned) and Rocky (completely Momma's girl and still on the bottle) are not related and already live outside.

    orphaned raccoons

    The other three babies, Abi, Lena and Ian, are 6 weeks old now and still inside. They will be joining the other 3 girls at the age of about 10 weeks.

    All of these babies were rescued by kindhearted and generous people that have gone FAR out of their way to save these critters. THANK YOU Judy, Stephanie, and Robin!!!!

    I have posted many many movies and pictures on YouTube and my Rainbow Wildlife Blog.

    I think I have talked enough for the next 3 months! Thank you so much for taking an interest in my work!

    Erath County Humane Society Animal Shelter

    I do want to mention the ECHS, since I update their Adoption List on petfinder.com. I go to the shelter as often as my time allows it and take pictures to update the petfinder page. It has been a great success!

    Don't Buy, Adopt a Pet

    Don't Buy, Adopt a Pet!

    Whether you adopt a pet from a local animal shelter, rescue organization, or human society, it doesn't matter because you're saving lives! You probably want to adopt just one kitten or cat, right? Adoption saves more than just the life of the pet you adopt.

    If you adopt from an animal shelter, you're making room for another dog or cat, or you're allowing other dogs or cats at the shelter to be kept for a longer period of time, giving them a better chance at being adopted.

    If you adopt from a humane society or a rescue organization, you're allowing that organization to rescue another dog or cat for adoption at a public shelter, which, of course, saves the life of that little guy plus the lives of others at that shelter by creating space so new pets can be kept longer. As you can see, adoption is truly a continuous cycle of saving lives and it's the right thing to do!

    3 Orphaned Raccoon Girls

    The 3 orphaned raccoon girls Sandra, Rocky and Pumkin are doing excellent. Rocky is still on the bottle, but does not fuss anymore, as you can see.

    This enclosure was built by the boy scouts and was originally meant to be a flight cage for birds. That's why we put the fine screen inside, because the hardware cloth harms the feathers.

    However, the boy scouts did not get to finish the enclosure to the point where I could use it for birds. I tried, but they kept getting out. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, rather the opposite! I'll be forever grateful to the boys and their parents for getting this enclosure up and standing.

    When it comes to animal rescue, making plans usually doesn't work. It's all about juggling and adjusting and managing and going with the flow, at least to me. So when I needed this big of an enclosure for 6 orphaned raccoons (3 so far, the other 3 will be added to the enclosure within the next 2 weeks) and the birds kept getting out of the "flight cage", I decided to re-arrange everything.

    The fine screen the girls kept ripping off the inside of the flight cage will go into a smaller enclosure, which will serve as a flight cage for now. More fine screen will be put on the outside of the flight cage to keep flies out, so no material has been lost but a few staples maybe.

    Hopefully by the end of next week I have managed to raise enough funds and manpower to get a concrete floor into the flight cage that I can bleach and hose down for better hygienic conditions.