New England Wildlife Center
Preserving New England's Wild Legacy
Why We Cant Treat Every Animal

Friends of Wildlife:

Every animal has a right to humane medical care.  It is heart breaking when there are ”no more beds” in our hospital for wildlife in dire need.

There are millions of common wildlife injured or orphaned every year in Massachusetts.  The Center can treat approximately 2,000 patients a year.  This is a drop in the bucket!  We do not have the funding for staff to treat more.

There is no government funding or publicly funded entity to care for suffering wildlife.  Less than 1% of the Center’s resources come from folks that bring us wild patients.  By law, we cannot charge anyone, including municipalities, state agencies, and organizations that bring us ailing wildlife.

By law, the Center must provide the same level of care to a wild animal as a veterinary practice provides to a dog or cat.  Sounds good, but our patients can’t pay, and their needs are different from dogs and cats.  All operating funds and funds to build our facility were raised by begging people just like you for money.  New England Wildlife Center is a community organization – founded by your neighbors and run by your neighbors.

When you help wildlife, you are a hero.  When you take the time to bring an injured bunny to the Center, you definitely won’t want to hear that we can’t help.  But, please, understand that we don’t want to tell you that we can’t help, especially because we wish we could.  When we are full, we are unable to take in wildlife, until “beds” free up.  If our veterinary staff and volunteers cannot safely care for more animals AND meet state laws and regulations, our only options are to recommend that wildlife be brought to other rehabilitators (who may or may not have openings), or to provide humane euthanasia.  Before you come, please call 781 682 4878 and ask to be connected to our wildlife hospital to see if we are able to accept wildlife patients, also called “on intake”.  We are here for wildlife and here for you to the best of our ability.  Thank you for your patience and understanding restrictions out of our control.

34 Comments to “Why We Cant Treat Every Animal”

  1. James Waples says:

    Two beautiful white pea fowl have been frequenting my back yard for a couple of weeks. Have they been reported missing to you? If so, I want to return them to their owners

  2. Lisa says:

    I found a baby bird (newborn) on the train platform. I think it’s some kind of swallow. The nest was about 5 feet above my head, and there really wasn’t anywhere that I could leave the bird safely, so I took it home.

    If it makes it through the night, can I bring it by tomorrow? What time do you open?

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Lisa, I believe we have room for baby birds but please call tomorrow at 781 682 4878 to make sure we aren’t full. Very best of luck. Katrina

  3. Monica says:

    just curious, i worked for a vet who was a wild life rehaber in her clinic and she often asked us to take home baby squirrels or other young animals to provide around the clock care. Do you allow your volunteers/workers to do the same to allow for more room?

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Monica, we do not do that here. Massachusetts law requires rehabilitators to be licensed by the state before being legally allowed to care for injured or orphaned wild animals. Once an animal is taken away from NEWC and away from our direct care then the person taking care of them becomes responsible, and therefore legally must be a licensed rehabilitator.

  4. karen monahan says:

    sounds like I should be donating to the Animal rescue League of Boston

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Karen Monahan – the League is a great organization. We work side by side with our sister organization. ARL rescues and transports wildlife to us and we provide medical care. ARL rescues as many as they can and the Center treats as many as we can. Thanks for being such a great advocate for wildlife. Happy New Year! :)

  5. Andrew says:

    Hi all,

    I’m a college student in MA, and as I left my dorm this evening I passed a tree with a squirrel hanging on it just with it’s front feet which I have never seen before. As I got closer the squirrel started to circle around the tree with it’s front feet and then it slipped. I noticed that it had a problem with it’s hind legs, as it wasn’t using them at all and was dragging itself with it’s front feet. I felt horrible and every time I tried to get close it would drag itself away. I’m not sure what to do.

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Andrew, if he is injured and you can get him to us, we can take him in and try to help. First, you have to be able to catch him. You can try calling your local animal control or the Animal Rescue League of Boston to help with that piece. We are open this weekend and can help if you get him here. Best of luck.

  6. vkeirnan says:

    Last summer I noticed a seagull on Nantasket Beach with a band on one leg. I also saw a seagull with large orange plastic circles on its wings. Are these identifiers for tracing their travels once they’ve left your facility?

    Thank you for all your do with limited resources!

  7. Christine says:

    Probably too late and pointless to ask here but I don’t really know where else to ask. I saw what may have been an adolescent coyote with a bad case of mange on our street (after researching on the Internet). He trotted behind neighbors house to the brook and wetlands. If I see him again do I contact someone or just let him be?

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Christine, If you see him again you can try calling the Animal Rescue League of Boston. I am not sure where you live. If they can catch him, they will bring him to us and we can help him. The difficulty is in catching him. A wild animal has to be in pretty bad shape before she or he can be caught. We have successfully treated a lot of cases of mange. Very best of luck.

  8. C. Guerrini says:

    I witnessed what appeared to be a hawk flying close to traffic and directly into a chain link fence on my commute home. The bird luckily landed on the sidewalk of a very busy main street. It was evident he was having trouble flying. Pedestrians and bikers coming in close proximity startled the bird who was trying so diligently to fly away. I made some calls (including your office) and ended up leaving a voicemail for ARL. As I was hanging up the bird finally caught some momentum and took off! Is it likely he couldn’t fly because he was startled from the fall? I heard that birds will often appear disabled to fly, when really they are just in “shock” from a bad fall or crash. I would hate for this hawk to be injured but can’t imagine he would have the ability to fly onto a high building if he was hurt.
    Thank you.

    • Greg says:

      Sometimes when birds hit fences, windows, cars, the ground and even their prey it knocks them gooney. It can be mild or severe. Nature is not a perfect acrobat. After a pause they gain their senses and go on again. That pause sometimes takes hours or even days. Sometimes the blow kills them. Thanks for your question. greg

  9. says:

    I see that you are able to help out about 2,000 animals a year has that number been going up? Do you foresee being able to help more in coming years?

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi there, Human actions continue to increase the number of wildlife in need of care. The numbers of wildlife that we can treat are dependent upon many factors including funds for veterinary staffing, adequate space, equipment and caging. The Center is not a government agency, not part of a large organization or university. We are a small nonprofit that raises or earns all funds to care for wildlife. We can care for a small fraction of the thousands, if not millions, in need of care in Massachusetts each year. If you would like to talk further, please give us a call at 781 682 4878 and ask for Nina. Have a good day.

  10. Stacy says:

    We live in Scituate and there are many turkeys in our neighborhood. We noticed one a while ago that had a damaged right foot and it has gotten much worse over the past few weeks. He can only hop now, and very often falls onto his belly. He is also alone all the time and no longer with the flock. Is there anything we can do to help? He’s quite large so I’m not sure it would be safe to catch/transport him to Weymouth but we’d be willing to try. It’s heartbreaking to see him suffer!
    Thank you for all that you do!

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Stacy, Oh, that is heart breaking. If you can get him to us, we can try to help him. The Animal Rescue League of Boston may be able to come out and rescue him. They are our sister organization and we work closely with them. They get a lot of phone calls, as you can imagine. Give them a call though, or your local animal control officer. The first rule in wildlife care is – you have to be able to catch them in order to help them. We are open for admissions tomorrow at 10 am. Very best of luck. I hope he makes it. :)

  11. Anne Marie says:

    I just want to say that I respect you guys for all that you do.. I am a HUGE animal lover and I hate when animals suffer. Thank you for all you do!
    I a;lso wanted to know if you have to do anything special of have a certain education to volunteer? I am a medical assistant and have a clinical backround but have always wanted to work with animals..
    Lastly, Do you see animals routinely or only sick ones? Would you see a tea-cup Julianne mini pig? I just purchased one and my regular vet does not see them…
    Thank you for caring for animals no matter the outcome…
    Anne Marie

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Anne Marie, I think Dr. Mertz sent an email to you directly. Yes, we treat them and we also have an inclusive volunteer program, as he told you. Hope to see you soon. Thanks for the kind words. :)

  12. Andrea says:

    Hi. I have a red eared slider that laid an egg in the tank I have with water. I know that egg is not viable because it was laid in the water but I suspect she has more inside of her. I made a nest, I don’t know if she likes it because she hasn’t laid the rest of them. She laid the one in the water on Monday, (at least that’s when I noticed, I wasn’t here for the weekend) when should she lay the rest? How long should I wait before it will harm her?

    • Katrina Bergman says:

      Hi Andrea, The best thing to do is call the Center directly at 781 682 4878. Only our veterinarians could help with that. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. Best, Katrina

  13. amy says:

    There is a squirrel outside with a broken arm. He is totally dependent on food and water from us. What do I do? Is there a way to trap him, if so where do I bring him? I am next to Weymouth. Thanks

  14. Lisa P. says:

    In Marlborough MA there is an injured deer with the lower 1/3 of its leg missing. He can still get around by hopping and is eating. I was wondering if you knew of someone that could try and capture him? He’s located where I work and I believe they have called animal control but they haven’t been able to catch him yet. He’s been hanging around for about a month. I doubt he will survive the winter. Also, with this kind of injury, is there anything that could be done for him or someplace for him to safely live out his life?

    Thank you,

    • Andrew Cartoceti, DVM says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your concern for this injured animal. Unfortunately, you are right that this animal will likely not survive the winter. A three-legged deer will have trouble covering enough ground to find suitable forage during the colder months, and injured and young deer are occasionally preyed on by coyotes. With an injury of this severity there is little that can be done medically or surgically. An adult deer will also not adapt to captivity well, as they are incredibly fearful of humans and human-produced sounds, smells, etc. As a prey species they are always on high alert and often injure themselves in captivity when trying to escape from perceived threats. For this animal to live a stress-free and humane life in captivity, it would require a very large fenced enclosure and I do not know of any such facilities in our area. I can put a call in to the state deer biologist to get their take on the matter, but I suspect they will feel the same way. Without a suitable captive home for this animal, humane euthanasia would be the next best option. I know its not a pleasant resolution, but in the end its better for the animal than dying of starvation in the coming months. Again, not a pleasant thought, but euthanasia by gunshot is very fast and often the most humane way to euthanize a deer. The stress associated with capturing the animal alive and transporting it to a veterinarian for euthanasia is immense far less humane for the animal. A State Police Officer should be able to come out if the animal is nearby. I understand this information is less than desirable, but its the reality of wild deer management and I hope it helps. I will be in touch if I get any more information from the state.

      • You-Min Hun says:

        this is an unpleasant dilemma indeed, but euthanasia by gunshot even though fast and more humane, brakes the circle of life and is a waste of deer’s life in a way. just think how many animals and birds could prey on the injured deer and it would help them survive the winter.

        • NEWC Staff says:


          You raise an interesting point. Taking animals out of the ecosystem would certainly waste resources for other animals. But after euthanasia by gunshot the carcass could be left in the wild for other animals to scavenge. And it would arguably be better the better option for scavenging animals as well as the deer would have much more “meat” to offer to other animals than if we let it starve to death. But also remember that there are many other factors in play in a situation like this. Such as minimizing the deer’s suffering, preventing disease transmission if a carcass is scavenged by domestic animals, and the unpleasant nature of leaving a carcass in close proximity to humans. We have to balance all of these things when making a decision.

          -NEWC Staff

  15. Josue Flores says:

    We have an orphaned cotton tail rabbit that is less than 3 weeks old named Simon that is extremely dehydrated due to diarrhea, with worms and does not look well at all. He was taking formula and recently started to deny it. He is extremely weak and needs medical attention as soon as possible. Along with Simon, comes his family, Brutus, Joan and Marley. They are in good condition and hopping around happily. Joan however does have worms and would need medecine to cure them. Please contact me as soon as possible. If you could do anything at all that would be greatly appreciated. At least help out Simon, he needs your help and is awaiting your love.

    Thank you and I will await your response in kind,

    • NEWC says:

      Hi Josue,

      You are welcome to bring any sick animals to us for treatment. Unfortunately, we can only accept animals when our wildlife vet is present, Tuesday through Friday 10AM to 2PM. If you do bring them to us, we will require that you relinquish the animals to us, as it is illegal to rehabilitate wildlife without state permits. I should also tell you that it is extremely difficult to raise wild cottontails in captivity. Even trained professionals have a very, very low success rate. For this reason we typically recommend that cottontails be left in the wild, where we hope their chance of survival is greater. Here is a good link explaining some of the biology of these animals and why its so difficult to care for them.

      • Heather says:

        Thanks for that link on bunnies. It is very informative. My husband is on his way to you guys now (we called first) with a teenie bunny that’s hind legs are injured. It pulls itself along on the front ones. Its about the size of my palm. We searched EVERYWHERE looking for the nest, and we live on a busy street. We think the mom was killed yesterday by some wild cats that frequent our yard so even if we did find the nest… It’s sad definitely. I feel so bad for it. Im sure at this point its probably too late no matter what and with such a low survival rate even by professionals… I’ll just have to tell my daughter who found it with me, that he’s at the animal hospital and they’ll set him free when his leg is better.

        • NEWC says:

          Hi Heather,

          Thanks for taking time to care for this bunny and bring him in. Unfortunately, his injuries were beyond the point of repair, however, I cannot stress enough how much you helped him out. Even though some animal cannot be saved, minimizing their pain and suffering is HUGE. Thanks again for caring about local wildlife.

          –Dr. C

          • Catherine says:

            I think what Heather did was amazing–and the reply from Dr.C was truthful and very touching. It is heartbreaking to see any wild animal suffer–it bothers me so that it hurts.People who care want to open their heart and home and make it stop. All too often circumstances lead to tragedy for animals-but euthanasia ends the suffering. Before it comes to that– giving warmth, food, fresh water, comfort, compassion–that animal knows that someone cared -and did not have to die alone, outside, and terrified. HUGE indeed–and a Hero to that bunny

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