Fox Valley Wildlife Center hopes to fit deer with a prosthetic leg
BY Linda Girardi For The Courier-News July 3, 2012 7:27PM
Ashley Flint, director of the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, in Elburn, bottle feeds Franklin, a two month fawn, on Monday, July 2, 2012. Franklin was brought to the center after a farmer ran over its legs with a tractor. Flint hopes to raise enough money to fit the deer with a prosthetic leg. | Michele du Vair~For Sun-Times Media
The Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn was founded in 2000 as both a wildlife hospital, and as a resource for people concerned about or frustrated by wildlife.
The center provides hospital care for wild animals that are in need of help. Most of the animals that end up at the center have been impacted by man in some way; either caught by a cat, hit by a car, or become tangled in fishing lines.
The center’s goal is to release these animals back into the wild.
More than 2,300 animals were treated at the center in 2011.
The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is at 45W061 Route 38 in Elburn. It can be reached at 630-365-3800 or www.foxvalleywildlife.org.
Updated: August 5, 2012 6:31AM
ELBURN — The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is hoping a deer that had a leg amputated after a farming accident will recover enough to receive a prosthetic leg.
The center’s wildlife rehab specialists are optimistic in the recovery of the white speckled fawn, which had its right front leg amputated up to the joint after a farm tractor mishap in May.
The fawn, which the staff is calling Franklin, arrived at the animal hospital as a 2-pound newborn missing his foot and partial hooves on his two other feet.
Ashley Flint, center director, said the diagnosis was grim for the buck.
“Once he started licking our arms we made the determination to help him, knowing eventually his future home would either be at the center or in a zoo. He has a long road to recovery,” Flint said.
Flint said in the first week the fawn’s leg became necrotic, requiring amputation of his right front leg to the joint. During surgery he was maintained on life support for 15 minutes when he went into cardiac arrest.
Today he’s on stronger doses of antibiotic and receives weekly chiropractic adjustments to help his body heal. Flint said once Franklin is infection free he will be fit with a temporary prosthetic, but the goal is to have a permanent prosthetic implanted in the bone once he is full grown.
“He’s a sweetheart and loves people. He has grown accustomed to his situation very well,” Flint said.
Anyone interested in helping with the animal’s medical expenses or possible permanent shelter at the center can send donations to P.O. Box 385, Elburn, IL 60119 or visit www.foxvalleywildlife.org.
The center has another guest which it hopes will be able to make an adjustment.
The center is trying to “re-wild” a young red fox that was purchased from an exotic pet store in Yorkville.
A woman, who said she doesn’t believe wildlife should be kept as pets, recently dropped off the fox to the Elburn facility on behalf of a friend, who was the animal’s original owner, according to Laura Smith, a wildlife specialist at the center.
The male fox, which had been bred in captivity, is being kept in isolation to avoid contact with humans. Staff members are monitoring him to see whether he will be able to live on his own in the wild.
The owner of the pet store that sold the fox, however, is concerned about potentially releasing him because he has been captive bred for more than 15 years.
“If they put him out in the wild, it would be very difficult for him to survive,” said Carolyn Krall, who runs Pets One, at 129 Commercial Drive.
Owning captive bred foxes in the state of Illinois is legal with a furbearer permit, which can be purchased for about $25, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Wildlife specialists strongly discourage people from keeping the captive bred wild animals as pets, noting that as the animals get older, they can get more aggressive and destructive.
“Domestication takes thousands of years,” said Sandy Woltman, president of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. “It’s been tamed and habituated, but it’s still wild. It’s unpredictable; you don’t know what it’s going to do next.”
Katie Drews of ChicagoWildlifeNews.com contributed to this story.