VIRGINIA BEACH, VA -- Rabbits, possums, squirrels and more. The founder of Second Chance Wildlife said she is taking care of twice the number of animals she normally cares for. Wednesday morning, she got 27 calls before noon.
Connie Hiebert is worried about wildlife animals' lives now that the Virginia Beach SPCA can no longer rehabilitate them.
The Virginia Beach SPCA's Wildlife Rehabilitator Permit has been suspended after the failing to properly comply with the permit's conditions, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The suspension stems from the shooting of a bald eagle in early May. Staff at the Virginia Beach SPCA said they were forced to euthanize Camellia, a 7-year-old bald eagle, because his injuries were so severe.
"To me it's a death sentence for wildlife if they don`t get their permit back. It is a death sentence for animals we don't have room for, cause there's no other alternative?," said Hiebert, who has about 50 animals in her care.
And, she thinks it's going to get worse, with baby squirrel season and hurricane season starting.
When News 3 visited Hiebert, a woman brought in three bunnies. Only two of them made it. Hiebert said she didn't have room for them, but was taking them anyway.
Her concerns are when she and others who rehab wildlife cannot take in any more animals.
"The public is gonna have no place to take animals and these people are going to try and care of them in their homes. ?If they're not fed the right formula, it'll kill them," said Hiebert.
She believes the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries dealt a harsh punishment to the SPCA.
"They've taken animals since 1990. They've never had a flaw on their record. So I think the punishment is a little extreme and it's affecting everyone," said Hiebert.
Especially the wildlife. Hiebert said she's spending more time each day caring for the animals, bringing them back and forth from the vet and releasing those who are strong enough into the wild.
"It's a life and death situation with these animals, so I feel very disheartened, sad, I cried over this," said Hiebert.
2nd Chance Wildlife is a nonprofit organization and Hiebert said she pays out of pocket for almost all of the expenses. To help, visit http://www.2ndchancewildlife.org/