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County Police Remind Residents to Use Caution Around Baby Wild Animals

by RestonNow.com March 31, 2017 at 1:45 pm 9 Comments

The county’s Animal Protection Police is reminding residents as springtime is upon us that no matter how cute and cuddly they appear, baby wild animals are not pets.

In a statement to the community, the Fairfax County Police Department agency says residents often find baby animals they believe to be orphaned and they take them in — a bad idea, APP says.

While these actions are well-intended, it is important to realize that they may be unnecessary and can actually be detrimental to the wildlife concerned. Most wild animals are dedicated parents and do not abandon their offspring. Many wildlife species hide their young for safety nestled in grass or bushes and leave them alone for extended periods of time to look for food. Most of the time, the mother is nearby and will return to her offspring.

When humans intervene to “rescue” them, their survival rates decline. Many rehabilitated animals do not survive their first year upon release back into the wild. A wild animal’s best chance of survival is to stay in the wild.

The Animal Protection Police says there are situations where an animal may need help, including when it:

  • shows signs of flies, worms or maggots, which look like grains of rice
  • was caught by a cat or dog
  • is bleeding or shows signs of trauma, such as swelling
  • has parents that are known to be dead
  • is very cold, thin or weak
  • is on the ground unable to move
  • is not fully furred or feathered

When an animal is found in these conditions, the APP suggests calling them at 703-691-2131, the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at 855-571-9003 or a local veterinarian. It does not suggest attempting to retrieve the animal and raise it yourself.

Attempting to capture wild animals can result in human injury when animals feel threatened or are in pain. Human handling may do more harm than good and may cause unnecessary stress on the animal or result in trauma.

The Animal Protection Police says it receives the most calls this time of year regarding animals including squirrels, red foxes, raccoons, rabbits, skunks, opossums and songbirds.

Photos via Fairfax County Police Department/Animal Protection Police

  • Heh

    On the other hand, if you have the kind of dog that likes to chase baby animals… release the hounds!

  • Greg

    Those animal protection police need a big dose of humility and understanding. Their arrogance and rudeness when contacted by phone is shameful, disgusting, and abominable. We called once asking for help to deal with a neighbor’s’ barking dog and a mangy fox and we were treated like felony-level criminals for so much as calling.

    • Mike M

      Greg, I guess you didn’t get the memo. Since 9-11, the police and firemen are heroes just for getting out of bed in the morning. The lower they rank in the police community the more nasty arrogant they will tend to be. Don’t you know how important they are? You probably forgot your lowly status as a mere citizen.

      • Bah

        And also, like teachers, we should give them whatever annual raise and retirement benefits they want just because they’re so awesome.

        • Mike M

          Don’t forget fat pensions! There are neighborhoods on Staten Island where you can’t swing a dead cat on the sidewalk at 1PM without hitting a 40 or 50-something retired cop in the chops.

  • Reston Matt

    My name’s Reston Matt. I love animals, especially my dog. One time my dog bit a baby goose and killed it, it wasn’t his fault, the goose shouldn’t have been there. Maybe you’ve seen me around. I like to walk my dog without a leash, tell you it’s friendly when it walks up to you or your children and barks uncontrollably. I’m the guy at the cafe holding my dog and giving it whatever I happen to be eating or drinking and talking to it as if it is a real person. You’ve probably seen me at the dog park, I’m usually the one scrutinizing the other dogs and their owners.. how could they let their dog act that way? Sometimes when it’s late and cold I let my dog do his business in the front yard, I’ll pick it up in the morning, I’m busy, I can’t do everything, you know? If you haven’t met me yet you will, I”m Reston Matt, I’m everywhere.

    • Why do you bother?

      Owning my “like,” presuming this was sarcasm. Nicely done.

    • Jenny Gibbers

      I guess its Friday [drumroll].

    • Mike M

      Bitter much?

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