Archive for Sunday, September 8, 2002

Incidents date back to 1991

September 8, 2002

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More than a dozen people have written letters of complaint recently to state and federal officials about management of WildCare.

In those letters and in interviews, WildCare volunteers described incidents that allegedly occurred in the past decade, many directly involving WildCare Director Nancy Schwarting, that raised questions about the quality of the wildlife rehabilitation program.

Here are samples of the complaints:

 July 2002  Nine birds of prey are removed by federal agents from WildCare's facility. Moved to Operation WildLife, all the birds were found to have nutritional problems. Some had improper medical care. Two have been euthanized.

 December 2001  Schwarting allegedly waited 11 days to authorize the X-ray of a wounded red-tailed hawk. She then promised to take the hawk to a vet, but neglected it for three weeks. A WildCare volunteer took it to a clinic, where it was treated. The hawk was eventually released.

 April 2001  A owl nearly died after getting a foot caught in netting of WildCare's largest rehabilitation pen. It renewed concern about adequacy of WildCare facilities.

 February 2001  A great-horned owl with an injured wing and parasite infestation was allegedly left untreated for months by Schwarting, who declared it unfit for rehabilitation. A volunteer vet disagreed, saying its life could be saved. During treatment, Schwarting euthanized the owl.

 November 1998  A great-horned owl with a foot injury was allegedly placed in an outdoor net cage by Schwarting, where it got caught in netting and died.

 June 1997  Schwarting allegedly kept a Krider's hawk, used for public education programs by WildCare, in a box for more than 24 hours, either in her car or on a loading dock at Kansas University where she worked. It died.

 July 1993  A prairie falcon Schwarting allegedly transported from her home to WildCare's facility in a Styrofoam container died.

 April 1992  A great-horned owl used for six years by WildCare for educational programs died of lacerations to the liver. Schwarting allegedly closed the investigation without resolving responsibility for the bird's death.

 September 1991  A bobcat found injured in Franklin County was taken to WildCare. It contracted gangrene and chewed its foot pad and part of its leg off in an attempt to get rid of a dirty bandage. It was euthanized.

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