Houston SPCA’s Wildlife Center of Texas sees increase of animals during stay home order

State News

HOUSTON- Hundreds of opossums, a river otter, owls, even a bald eagle–they are all part of an influx of new residents of the Wildlife Center of Texas at the Houston SPCA.

“Since the same time last year compared to this year, we’ve taken over 700 more animals, so it’s been crazy,” said Sharon Schmalz, the executive director of the Wildlife Center of Texas.

In preperation for the pandemic, the SPCA adopted and fostered out all of the cats and dogs. A room that is usually for puppies and dogs is now filled with opossums.

So, what’s the reason for the increase?

“It’s kind of that perfect storm. It’s spring, which we always get a lot of animals in the spring. But also, because of the pandemic, people are abiding by this stay at home law and they are out in the neighborhood they’re walking around, they are finding injured or orphaned wildlife,” explained Schmalz.

So what do you do if you find injured or orphaned wildlife? Schmalz says if the animal is in a safe place, wait for a few hours to see if the mom comes back. If the mom does not come back, that’s when you can step in to help.

“The safest thing is to throw a little towel or blanket or sheet and then gently push them into a box or a dog or cat carrier and bring them to us right away,” explained Schmalz.

The additional animals make Schmalz’s job even busier, but what they represent to her is something we could all use a little more of right now.

“I feel like its hope for people because when people bring us a little baby or injured animal, there’s hope for that animal. We are going to get him back out to the wild where he belongs and I think the same thing is going to happen with humans. We are all eventually going to be back in our habitat, life is going to be back to normal, so it kind of gives us all hope,” explained Schmalz.

Even though adoptions at the SPCA are closed per the judge’s order, besides the Wildlife Center, the 24-hour injured animal ambulance and cruelty investigations are also still operating as usual.

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