Petition to Deny Wildlife Rehab License to Schuylkill Center--
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Please do NOT allow the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab Center (SWRC) to reopen under new permits The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, regardless of the individual rehabber, should NEVER be granted a permit to do wildlife rehabilitation at that location again.
Due to deep, decades-long institutional problems and unfixable flaws, disregard of PGC laws, and unethical conflict of interest, it would be grossly negligent and inexcusable for the PA Game Commission to issue a permit for any rehabber, regardless of qualifications, to perform wildlife rehab at this facility ever again.
First and foremost, the management of the Schuylkill Center will totally control any licensed rehabilitator at that location. The Schuylkill Center does not respect or follow PGC laws or wildlife rehabilitation ethics in any way, and they fire or get rid of any wildlife rehabilitator who does not kowtow to them. Therefore, anyone you license would be in a critically compromised position We have sincere concerns that need to be addressed about their commitment to PA wildlife. The SWRC was underfunded, and each year the number of injured animals increased without an increase in budget; in fact they faced many budget cuts. The parent company of the animal center is the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE), under the direction of Mike Weilbacher. They’ll promise things will be different this time, they will even sound sincere...they have been breaking promises nonstop for 20 years and will NEVER change! Basic maintenance to the building, cages and surrounding grounds was not provided. Plumbing issues and cages were fixed only by private plumbers and carpenters brought in by volunteers, after repeated requests to the SCEE to fix chronic leaking sinks and ceilings. A broken septic tank resulted in a sewage leak which went unfixed from 2012 until 2017, leaking urine and feces on to the path used by volunteers to get to animal cages.This was reported to the SCEE many times,and was only fixed after forced to by the Phila Health Dept.
Food for animals and supplies was bought by volunteers daily because they wanted to make sure the animals got fed a proper diet; when equipment broke like washers and dryers it was the volunteers who donated and replaced things using their own time and transport. The SCEE used wildlife as a source for donations, using pictures of patients in their public relations. The SCEE also allowed deer to be gut-shot with arrows on their grounds with a preschool daycare and allowed fishing (catch and release) in their ponds resulting in more injured wildlife from fishing lines and hooks. They are not truthful about these issues, but facts are facts. SCEE rarely tended to the SWRC grounds, resulting in unsafe conditions for volunteers: Thigh high grass and weeds in the summer; icy paths in winter. Safety on the property, for staff and volunteers was not considered a priority of the SCEE. Under Mike Weilbacher’s direction the SWRC was underfunded and suffered many budget cuts. Any request to improve facilities fell on deaf ears. He was not concerned with the health or well being of animals. Although Rick Schubert and staff, along with the large volunteer team, ensured humane, appropriate animal care at all times, Schuylkill Center's lack of care made a difficult job even more difficult. Our fear is that under the direction of Mike Weilbacher, humane animal care is not possible - animals were only treated well for the last 13 years due to Rick Schubert's supervision and his refusal to cut corners. Mike Weilbacher also has a past history of allowing sexual harassment to take place at the SCEE, (this case can be viewed online), and twice Mike has used private armed security to remove employees from the property in unprovoked incidents; both times the employees were physically assaulted resulting in actions against the SCEE. The SWRC has lost is core of over 50 volunteers due to the past actions of Mike Weilbacher. Please do not allow the SWRC to ever care for another wild animal; we believe they only want to use them for their financial gain. Thank you.
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