Rebecca Dmytryk, founder and Co-Director of WildRescue, recently entered into a dialogue with Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, on an idea that could save the agency money, as well as spare the lives of many wild animals - a win-win proposal.
Dmytryk has decades of experience dealing with LA Animal Services' policies - not all good when it comes to wildlife, citing numerous instances where wild animals were impounded by the shelter only to die or be euthanized because they made no means to transfer animals to local wildlife rehabilitators. She also notes how lack of appropriate equipment and training, specific to wildlife, can result in an animal's death. Here's a quote from her book entitled WIldlife Search and Rescue, due out in late December:
The rescue of wild animals requires a unique set of skills, considerably different from those used in handling domestic animals. How the animal is handled and the quality of care it receives can mean life or death. Even if the animal is not critically wounded, inadequate housing, mishandling, and improper food can be fatal.
Dmytryk is offering to help the City by providing ongoing training courses for its officers as well as a dedicated wildlife hotline, similar to the one she launched in 2007 that serves the entire state of California - 1-866-WILD-911. The automated system helps connect callers with the nearest wildlife rehabilitator specializing in the species they've encountered. It also provides emergency instructions and educational tutorials. This way of 'filtering' calls could save Los Angeles thousands of man-hours and the lives of countless animals, according to Dmytryk.