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Welcome to the Wildlife Hotline Blog!

Here you can read about the latest news and rescues that have come through the Bi-State Wildlife Hotline.  Sometimes we have to blow our own horn here because we aren’t always mentioned by the press, or by the rehab group that ends up caring for the animal that we assisted in saving.  We understand that it’s difficult to remember everyone involved, but we know all the good that we do and we try to call attention to it here.  Our volunteers are amazing and they all work on the hotline out of their concern for animal welfare, their willingness to educate, and they all know how frustrating it is to not have anyone to call when you see an animal in need.  This idea, of having a 24 hour hotline for people to call is an amazing thing.  It hasn’t been done in Missouri or Illinois before, and the public here is in desperate need of a solution to this issue.  For over two years now, St. Louis County Animal Control Dept. and St. Louis City Animal Control Dept. will NOT respond to any wildlife calls.  This means that when you have a raccoon in your yard at 2:00 in the afternoon, circling around, disoriented, foaming at the mouth, and clearly sick – you CANNOT call Animal Control for help.  They will tell you to “Let nature take its course” and eventually the raccoon will either leave, or die.  The symptoms we just described are of a raccoon with canine distemper, and it can take days, even weeks, for a raccoon to die from it.  In the meantime, the raccoon is drunk-acting, super friendly but can turn on you at any moment, stays close to people, even following them or your dog all around the yard.  So ‘letting nature take its course’ means not letting your children or your pets outside until the raccoon either dies or leaves.  This just isn’t realistic.  Even if you didn’t have children or pets, most people don’t want to watch (or even know!) that an animal is outside suffering and dying.  We, at the Wildlife Hotline, completely agree.  We can’t believe that this has become something that Animal Control Departments do not handle.  There are certain cities and counties who *DO* handle wildlife calls, but most throughout Missouri & Illinois do NOT.  In the past, when a citizen calls city hall for help with wildlife, they get transferred to animal control, then they transfer you to Humane Societies or animal rescue groups, then they transfer you to pest control people who charge a fortune and KILL the animals.  Now, whether you call the police, animal control, 911, the fire department, or your veterinarian, they give you the Wildlife Hotline number and we can assist you in finding the best person or organization to help with your specific issue.  Plus, more importantly, we listen to your conflict.  We aren’t going to cut you off mid-sentence to tell you that “We don’t handle that” or transfer you to yet another place that won’t be able to help.

We must admit though, in some cases, depending on how hurt the animal is that you are calling about, we cannot always help.  We feel awful about these calls and we really hate telling a caller that we can’t help.  However, sometimes, death is the most merciful thing that we can offer an animal.  It’s not the part of the job that any of us love, but it’s a necessary part of rehabilitation, rescue, and release.  When recover is not possible, or the harm outweighs the good, it is a decision – a difficult one – that we must make.  Still though, at least you will you know that you tried.  You called the experts and talked to someone who knew this animal well, and knew exactly how to deal with the situation at hand.  You’re not going to bed tonight wondering if there was something more that you could have done.  Peace of mind is priceless sometimes.

 

2 Comments
  1. so happy you have this hotline b/c i work at a humane socity and we can not help those aminals.it good to have a phone number people can call to get help.

    • We are more than happy to provide this service. It has been a long time in the making, but Missouri needed a hotline to call about wild animal encounters. All too often it is just a matter of education that is needed. Thank you so much for your comment!