Having a policy in place helps everyone on staff know their roles and responsibilities when your practice is presented with a wild animal species, hybrid, or question – whether the practice treats wildlife or not. The policy can be as simple or complex as needed. Utilizing the Wildlife Decision Tree can help, especially with some of the regulatory and public health concerns associated with treating wildlife species or their hybrids. As a working document, the wildlife policy should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed to ensure its information is correct.
If your practice treats wildlife, a policy will help ensure that related regulatory, public health, and administrative concerns are addressed so that the animal can more quickly receive the care it needs and the Good Samaritan (or owner, if the case may be) and other clients may have an enhanced appreciation for your expertise.
If your practice does not treat wildlife, it should still be able to at least provide the Good Samaritan (or owner) with contact information for appropriate authorities and local veterinarians who can help. With a policy in place, it will not matter who answers the call because the same useful information will be shared each time. Some clinics accept wildlife from Good Samaritans so that the animal can receive needed basic care while staff contacts the proper authorities and a local veterinary facility that treats wildlife.