LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- As spring gradually draws closer, Kate Murphy of Animal Nation is working to educate residents on the importance of responsibly handling injured or abandoned animals.
Murphy, who is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation specialist from Larchmont, is joining Jenny Greer of Sheldrake Environmental Center to hold a Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Session for the public on Tuesday, March 18.
Murphy said the No. 1 mistake people make when dealing with injured or abandoned animals is interfering - which is often unnecessary and can sometimes be harmful.
"We tell people not to be what we call 'kidnappers.' People find an abandoned animal, think they want to help, then take it in. There, they don't have the training or resources to take care of them, and many times the animals die," she said.
Murphy added that though an animal may seem like it has been abandoned, many times it has not.
"If you find a baby deer alone in your backyard, don't be alarmed. Mother deer tend to only visit their babies twice a day until the babies are old enough to go with them. They spend most of their time foraging," she said.
Additionally, nests of baby birds without a resident mother don't spell trouble - unless the mother hasn't returned by nightfall.
However, if you do find a baby bird has fallen out of its nest, don't let the popular myth fool you - you can safely put it back with its siblings without its mother abandoning it.
She also added that household pets like cats and dogs are some of the leading causes in wildlife injury, and recommends keeping pets under close supervision during the spring season.
"Cats and dogs are the No. 1 killer of baby squirrels, bunnies and birds. Most people don't realize if a baby animal has come into contact with a pet, they need antibiotics," she said.
However, if an animal does seem injured, you should call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
"If there's an animal that has a physical injury or is making weird sounds, you must call a licensed rehabilitator to come get them," she said.
Recalling a story where several small wild rabbits were killed due to insufficient home care, she urged Westchester residents not to attempt to take care of injured animals.
"And please don't believe what you read (about animal care) on the Internet," she said.
If you do find an injured wild animal and need a specialist or more information, you can reach Kate Murphy at 914-447-4990 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildlife Rehab 101 will be on Tuesday, March 18 at 10 a.m. at Sheldrake Environmental Center, located at 685 Weaver St. Admission is $10 per person. RSVP requested at email@example.com or 914-834-1443.