Allow Michigan Wildlife Rehabilitators the Right to Rehab Skunks
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Currently, in the state of Michigan, it is illegal to rehabilitate the Rabies Vector Species (RVS) skunks and bats. This petition is to allow there to be a specialized permit for authorized Michigan wildlife rehabilitators to work with skunks.
At this time, if the public finds orphaned skunks, they are turned away by rehabilitators and unfortunately tend to take matters into their own hands, with little knowledge. This is a greater health and safety risk than permitting accredited rehabilitators the right to care for the animals.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, there have only been 71 skunks in Michigan that have tested positive for rabies since 2003, an average of around two cases per year. All but one of these occurrences took place in the southeastern part of the state. Based on this information, I believe there is room to alter this law, and permit wildlife rehabilitators (who have their pre-exposure rabies vaccines) the legal option to step in and help skunks at their discretion. This will eliminate the public putting themselves in harm’s way and also give the Department of Natural Resources an accurate recordkeeping of skunks that are being cared for.
Moving forward, rehabilitating skunks should have similar regulations as raccoon rehabilitation, meaning that there shall be no commingling of counties and animals must be released back to the county in which they are initially from. Following this policy will lessen any disease exposure risks to different counties and again, reduce illegal public involvement when they have no one else to turn to.
Please join me in asking the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to allow permitted wildlife rehabilitators the right to rehab skunks!
Amber Covell, President of Soulshine Wildlife Center
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