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Wildlife Enthusiasts Angry about Animal Euthanization Policy

Some people may think of the animals as a nuisance but there are many who are upset about the order.

Some people may think of the animals as a nuisance but there are many who are upset about the order. Wildlife lovers are calling it a species genocide--and they're worried that the consequences will be widespread.

"I can't live with killing an innocent animal for no reason," said Terry Morse, Director of Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary in Enterprise.

Bats, raccoons, opossums, feral pigs, coyotes, foxes and skunks--they've all been ordered by the Division of Wildlife and Fisheries to be killed immediately once given to rehabilitators.

"We don't know why they're on the list. When we talked to the wildlife people they don't have a solid description of why these animals are on it. They gave us kind of vague and ambiguous answers," said John Morse, vice president of the sanctuary.

Rehabilitation centers like the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary in Enterprise make it their mission to help animals who are hurt or orphaned. But now to be able to keep their permit to rehabilitate any animal, they had to agree to automatically kill every one of those seven animals on the kill list if they are brought to them.

"We didn't have any forewarning either. This came in the mail. I got mine on the 30th of August and it was effective the first of September and that's the first we knew anything about this," said Terry.

Rehabilitators say they're worried that even animals like these ones could be added to that list.

"Would they possibly take a deer and say we have too many deer so we're going to euthanize those? At a stroke of a pen they can change things and that bothers us," said John.

Some are saying the consequences may not just affect the animals.

"These animals come from kind caring people who want to help them but they don't know how and I think with this new policy it's going to force people, when I say 'I can't take that animal because I have to euthanize it it's going to force people to take them into their own homes and try to raise them and I think that's a dangerous scenario," said Terry.

We spoke with the Division of Wildlife today and they said it was a policy review. They said they saw no need for rehabilitation of these animals and that policy will be permanent. They also said they reserve the right to add other animals to the list.

Both the Division of Wildlife and the rehabilitation center we spoke with today stressed the importance of leaving an animal alone if you see it in the wild.
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