Dr. Lindy O’Leary, Who Runs California’s Wildlife Center in Poway, Has Announced the Introduction of Senate Bill 856

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Dr. Lindy O’Leary, who runs California’s Wildlife Center in Poway, has announced the introduction of Senate Bill 856, authored by Senator Mimi Walters. The bill is known as the ‘Cotie Bill’ after Dr. O’Leary’s pet coyote-dog hybrid who died while in California Department of Fish and Game impound. The bill would transfer authority of the Wildlife Center from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to the Department of Food and Agriculture. Upon inspection and approval of the facility, the Wildlife Center would be granted a permit to operate for at least five years. The bill comes after a protracted legal battle between Dr. O’Leary and the California Department of Fish and Game over the future of the Wildlife Center and the permanently disabled animals that Dr. O’Leary cares for. The State of California has so far spent over $750,000 in legal fees fighting the Wildlife Center over the future of two red tailed hawks, seven gulls, and one crow, all of which have permanent disabilities that prevents release into the wild. These birds have been in the care of the Wildlife Center since the mid 80’s.

Cotie

People need to ask themselves how they would feel if some Department authorized and armed official shoved his way into their house and confiscated their family pet.

Dr. Lindy O’Leary, a prominent rehabilitation physician who runs the Wildlife Center in Poway California, announced the introduction of Senate Bill 856, authored by Senator Mimi Walters. Senate Bill 856 would transfer authority over the Wildlife Center from the California Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Food and Agriculture. Under the bill’s provisions, the Department of Food and Agriculture would inspect and approve the facility and grant O’Leary’s Wildlife Center a permit to operate for at least five years.

The bill will be known as the ‘Cotie Bill’ after Dr. O’Leary’s pet coyote-dog hybrid which was impounded by California Department of Fish and Game officials. The lack of treatment of Cotie’s seizure disorder while in impound resulted in his death in January 2005. The bill comes after a protracted legal battle between Dr. O’Leary and the California Department of Fish and Game over the future of the Wildlife Center and the disabled birds that Dr. O’Leary cares for. The State of California has so far spent over $750,000 in legal fees fighting the Wildlife Center over the future of two red tailed hawks, seven gulls, and one crow. These birds are all very healthy but have permanent disabilities that prevent their release into the wild.

Dr O’Leary said that she hopes members of the public will support the bill by contacting Senator Walters and indicating their support. O’Leary stated: “This bill will stop the beautiful birds at the Wildlife Center from being needlessly destroyed. All of the birds and animals located at the facility are well cared for and, despite the disabilities, are living long and healthy lives. The Wildlife Center has attempted to work with the Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Game Commission for over seven years, to gain the required permits to operate an animal care facility for disabled birds, without success.”

Dr O’Leary says her main reason for sponsoring Senate Bill 856 is to save her animals, but she says her treatment by the Department of Fish and Game raises several other concerns. She says, “People need to ask themselves how they would feel if some Department authorized and armed official shoved his way into their house and confiscated their family pet. It boggles my mind that in spite of all the massive budget problems in California that they can afford a battery of lawyers and wardens to come after one small wildlife center for a few disabled birds.”

To contact Senator Walters, write to Senator MimiWalters, C/O State Capitol, Room 3082 Sacramento, CA 95814. Dr. O’Leary also requests that copies of the letter by emailed to garth.eisenbeis(at)sen.ca(dot)gov and cbarankin(at)aol(dot)com.

Click here for more information about the Wildlife Center.

An example letter of support may be seen here.

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