STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Every day, Wilderz at Pocono Wildlife near Stroudsburg takes in injured or orphaned wildlife.
A juvenile great horned owl is one of the newest residents receiving treatment after coming in infested with insects and unable to lift its head.
The center relies on volunteers and donations to help these animals.
State Representative Tarah Probst hopes to change that with House Bill 1522. It would help fund licensed wildlife rehabilitation centers throughout the state.
"Everything they do besides their time costs money, and you know you can't rely solely on donors. You just can't, Volunteers are hard to find right now because, Lord knows, people are working two jobs to make ends meet. So this is something that the state can afford. They should take care of it because it's our native species," said Rep. Tarah Probst, (D) 189th District.
Under the proposed bill, $300,000 from the state budget would be allocated to roughly 32 licensed wildlife rehabilitation centers in the state. The number of dollars a center would receive would be based on how many animals they take in per year.
At the wildlife center in the Poconos, that number is in the thousands.
"It would help in so many different ways. Baby season, the formula alone is between $5,000 and $8,000 just for formula. That's not including solid foods and medical expenses. You know, we do have an x-ray here on the property, but there are certain things I can't do, our staff can't do that require veterinary services. It's not cheap," said Janine Tancredi, co-director of the Wilderz at Pocono Wildlife.
Peggy Hentz is the founder and director of Red Creek Wildlife Center in Schuylkill County. Not only would her center benefit from the bill, but she helped write some of it.
"It shows that the state recognizes wildlife rehabilitators' value. Not only to the wildlife but also as a public health service, because getting the animals out of the hands of the public which they would have nowhere else to go if it wasn't for wildlife rehabilitators," Hentz said.
Probst will propose the bill in the state house in a couple of weeks. She believes it will pass quickly and move on to the Pennsylvania Senate.
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