Kendall Seifert, owner of Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue in Littleton, has accepted a plea deal in response to two criminal cases related to wildlife mishandling that had been filed against him by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Seifert’s organization remains closed and unlicensed after the state agency denied renewal of Seifert’s wildlife-rehabilitation license, resulting last year in the seizure of animals in Seifert’s care.
Seifert plead guilty June 30 in Douglas County Court to two counts of illegal possession of deer, one count of failure to submit a complete report, one count of failure to euthanize wildlife unlikely to recover, and one count of unlawful release of wildlife.
“We are pleased with the results of this case,” said Mark Leslie, northeast regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “This is the culmination of two complex criminal and one administrative case against Mr. Seifert.”
In March 2016, officials found Squirrel Creek had committed 150 violations of state law. After a state veterinarian examined the facility’s animals, 66 were released back into the wild and four were sent to other licensed rehabilitation facilities.
Unfortunately, 23 animals were euthanized due to injuries or illnesses from which recovery was unlikely. Additionally, two deer found to be inadequately rehabilitated and illegally possessed were also euthanized.
“[Our office] enacts and enforces rehabilitation laws to protect both wildlife and human health,” said District Wildlife Manager Melanie Kaknes. “Although multiple charges were dismissed as part of a global resolution of the two criminal cases against Mr. Seifert, we believe our concerns regarding human health and safety, animal welfare and disease transmissions have been addressed.”
While this particular case has brought out much passion in the wildlife-loving community, officials say it’s important that citizens understand the need to correctly license and monitor wildlife rehabilitators so that Colorado wildlife is protected from poor care, disease or from becoming pets.
“We are fortunate to live in a state with a rich and diverse wildlife resource, and protecting that resource is something to which we are deeply committed,” Leslie said. “We value the difficult work our law-abiding licensed rehabilitators perform and acknowledge that euthanizing animals is a challenging, but necessary, part of caring for sick and injured wildlife.”
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