To the editor:
This a follow-up to my May, 8 response to the May 5 Journal-World article “Concert … baby wildlife.” The article identified Operation Wildlife (OWL) as a reliable organization that would receive wounded or orphaned wildlife. Information on handling the animals or warnings regarding the danger of rabies exposure was not included. I didn’t want some good-hearted individual injured and exposed to rabies. I made no comments regarding OWL or their activities. Besides information on rabies, I commented on the dangers of handling cranes or herons. Untrained people have lost an eye or piece of their face trying to help these water fowl.
OWL volunteers have taken me to task for offering information regarding rabies public health.
I was a mixed animal practitioner in south-central Minnesota and northeast Iowa for 27 years and served as a federal veterinarian for six years.
An OWL volunteer used a state rabies lab’s data of one year to present an opinion. During the years of receiving this data, I never evaluated it in a like manner. However, 47 percent of positive cases are skunks. People do make pets of baby skunks and request veterinary clinics to de-scent and vaccinate them.
I must commend OWL in their dedication to operate a labor-, safety- and financially demanding organization dedicated to the care of varmints, bunnies, birds and other lesser species.