Wild animal sanctuary in need of help itself

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- When wild animals are hurt, a sanctuary in Arlington comes to the rescue. But that mission is now on life support, itself.

Facing a huge budget shortfall, Sarvey Wildlife Center reached out to the Problem Solvers. On the day we visited the center, they happened to have three birds ready to be released back into the wild.

One, a barred owl, had been hit by a car, but after five weeks of rehabilitation, she is free to fly.

"Their habitats are being destroyed," said Suzanne West, executive director of the non-profit. "And so there are more and more animals that are finding themselves in need of help."

Sarvey takes in 3,000 animals a year, like a bald eagle -- also hit by a car. It too was released after some TLC at Sarvey.

Now the work done here for 30 years is in serious jeopardy. Staring at a $95,000 budget shortfall, the center just laid off 20 percent of its paid staff.

"The expense to rehabilitate wildlife is very large," West said.

One bufflehead duck in their care needs to be tube fed every day, until it can go back into the wild. Hu Iyake, a Golden Eagle, eats venison and quail. There are many mouths to feed there and the center's busiest months are still ahead in spring and summer.

And it's expensive to keep all of these animals fed. The center might spend $500 every two weeks just to buy enough quail for the birds and when it comes to rodents, that cost might go as high at $1,500 a month.

So right now, they're pleading for donations to help creatures -- like a red tailed hawk that was hit by a car.

"Complete fracture of the femur," said the center's Mark Collins. "We consulted with our medical director and that one we actually decided to do surgery on."

With a pin in its leg, it too is back in the wild.

People witness these types of accidents and rescue these animals all the time.

"When people call us, they're looking for help," West said. "And they're not just looking for help for the injured animal that they have in their possession now, but they're looking for help for themselves because they feel terrible."

The 10 staff members and 100 volunteers are happy to not only take care of the animals, but also console the humans.

The Sarvey Center -- still dedicated to its mission -- now needs a resuscitation of cash to keep saving lives.

If you'd like to help, you can go to