WildRescue ramping up efforts to help Bay Area animals

Courtesy photoRebecca Dmytryk

After 30 years in the business of rescuing injured animals, Rebecca Dmytryk has seen her share of unfortunate incidents. But a goose that lay helpless in a puddle for three days with both legs broken was what broke Dmytryk’s heart.

“We’d failed,” said Dmytryk, whose all-volunteer animal ambulance service was too booked to respond to the call.

The incident was the final push she needed to move on a significant change to WildRescue’s 11-year
business model.

“We’d been thinking we needed to do this,” Dmytryk said. “This is proof that we can’t go on as volunteers — there just aren’t enough of them.”

By March, Dmytryk hopes to raise enough money to pay one full-time employee — a 24-7 on-call animal medic — and to buy a used van and convert it into a wildlife ambulance.

Dmytryk estimates the group will need $35,000 to start up the effort and make it through their busy spring and summer seasons.

The need for full-time help comes from a decline in volunteers and an increase in the number of calls the group is getting, Dmytryk said.

The group’s claim to fame in San Francisco is rescuing a red-tailed hawk with a nail in its head and removing beer cans from around seagulls’ necks.

Lt. Le-Ellis Brown, an officer with The City’s Department of Animal Care and Control, was not available for comment Tuesday, but previously said his department relies on groups such as WildRescue for help with specialized rescues.

With a full-time employee, the organization could respond to emergencies from San Jose to the East Bay, Dmytryk said.

sgantz@sfexaminer.com

Lend a hand (or paw or talon)

What: WildRescue’s The Year in Rescues reception and silent auction fundraiser
When: 1-4 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: Argonaut Hotel, 495 Jefferson St., San Francisco
Cost: $50
Details: (415) 979-9700, www.wildrescue.org

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