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Wildlife Sanctuary Opens In Ohio County

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Brittany McFadden
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  There’s a new wildlife rehabilitation center in Ohio County, Kentucky, launched by a woman who found a need and decided to fill it.

Brittany McFadden saw a posting on Facebook by Ohio County Animal Control asking for a local person who is a “wildlife rehabber” to come pick up an animal.

That gave McFadden the idea for Shamar Wildlife Rehab and Sanctuary, which opened in January.

McFadden said Shamar is a Hebrew word, suggested by her mother, that means “to keep, guard, protect and save life.” McFadden said it just seemed natural for her to launch this project.

“I’ve always had a love for animals, and I always wanted to do something with animals. I’m literally living my dream," said McFadden. "I imagined it would be cats and dogs, but there are people advocating for cats and dogs. There’s no one advocating for the wildlife, so that’s why I chose to take care of the wildlife.”

So far, McFadden has helped a few animals. She temporarily cared for a hawk with an injured wing that her husband found hopping across the road on the way to work.

“The hawk that we brought in we transported to the Raptor Center in Owensboro. We’re not licensed to hold birds of prey for longer than 48 hours,” said McFadden.

She's also caring for two possums raised by people who didn’t prepare the animals to live in the wild. They’ll be prepared to survive in their natural habitat and then set free.

There have been a couple of sad situations, she said, including having to put down a racoon with rabies and an injured possum.

McFadden has an associate’s degree in accounting and combined that with her love for animals to provide a foundation for the nonprofit organization.

The rehabilitation center and sanctuary required a state wildlife rehabilitation permit, inspections by the county conservation officer, and a cooperating veterinarian.

So far, McFadden has been training with a local wildlife rehabilitator. In March she will attend a two-day International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council course at Murray State University to earn a certificate in Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation. The course prepares a "wildlife rehabber" to raise, rescue, or arrange veterinary care for orphaned, sick or injured native wildlife. The goal is for the wildlife to be released into its natural habitat.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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