Veterinary Assistance Fund

PURPOSE OF THE GUIDELINES

The Wildlife Rescue League is a group of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators and other members of the public organized to support the goal of caring for sick, injured and abandoned wildlife and returning them to the wild. WRL is a non-governmental organization, and its activities are supported primarily through donations from the general public.

WRL has recognized that the cost of caring for wildlife is borne primarily by the individual licensed rehabilitators. WRL, to the extent possible in accordance with its budget, has purchased and made available food items and medicine to support the efforts of its member rehabilitators. However, WRL recognizes that the circumstances that brought individual animals into rehabilitation may require professional veterinary care. Although this care may, on occasion, be provided at no cost to a rehabilitator, WRL recognizes that veterinarians routinely charge for their professional services and that the individual rehabilitators must absorb these costs. For this reason, WRL has determined to allocate a portion of its budget to a Veterinary Assistance Fund established to compensate rehabilitators, within reasonable budgetary limitations, for the costs incurred for unusual or extraordinary veterinary care.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDS?

WRL has determined that licensed wildlife rehabilitators, either a Category I or II, who are WRL members in good standing, may receive reimbursement from the Fund. WRL recognizes that Category I apprentices are licensed to care for healthy animals; however, an apprentice rehabilitator may incur a veterinary expense on behalf of the sponsor. WRL has determined that reimbursement will not be made to veterinarians.

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN ANY INDIVIDUAL REHABILITATOR RECEIVE?

WRL recognizes that the extent of expenses incurred for individual animals cannot be reasonably anticipated. It is clear that some animals, by virtue of their size and the reasons for their being in the care of a licensed rehabilitator, may incur higher veterinary expenses than other animals. WRL has determined that a majority of the entire Board shall determine the reimbursement amount in individual cases.

WHAT CAN THESE FUNDS BE USED FOR?

WRL has determined that the funds shall be used to defer expenses incurred for surgical and medical procedures of a more than routine nature. This may include, but not be limited to, surgery to repair or treat fractures, extraction of teeth broken in accidents, removal of damaged eyes, or other surgery required as a result of traumatic injury. In addition, WRL recognizes the periodic need for diagnostic services incurred through the Virginia State Laboratory system because it is clear that treatment regimens of various species are enhanced and clarified through the availability of culture, sensitivity, and biopsy testing. For this reason, WRL may permit reimbursement for diagnostic services obtained through the State system. Reimbursement through the Fund shall not be made available for the expenses incurred for medicine, unless that medicine is an integral part of the reimbursable services.

HOW ARE FUNDS AWARDED?

Funds are awarded to the rehabilitator by check from WRL.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR APPROVAL OF FUNDING?

WRL recognizes that the need for veterinary treatment may be immediate or may be anticipated. For this reason, it is not necessary that treatment be approved in advance of its being obtained. The rehabilitator requesting reimbursement must present a copy of the bill for services incurred from the veterinarian or laboratory along with a statement of the reason for the need for the services to the Board. This reimbursement request must be received within the same fiscal year as the expense occurred. Depending on the availability of funding and the particular medical or surgical event, the Board, at its discretion, may determine to award full or partial payment to the rehabilitator. Payment shall be determined by majority vote of the entire Board. However, if a practicing veterinarian who treats or recommends treatment to wildlife cared for by licensed wildlife rehabilitators is a member of the Board, that veterinarian shall not take any part in the determination of reimbursement. If the licensed rehabilitator requesting reimbursement is also a member of the Board, he/she shall recuse himself/herself from the approval process for that reimbursement.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY

WRL’s Board will determine the amount of money to be dedicated to the Fund. Funding may be made available from both the WRL budget and any donations targeted to the Fund. In light of the fact that WRL funding is acquired primarily from members of the public who maintain an interest in how their donations are being spent, WRL recognizes that there exist no privacy concerns on the part of licensed rehabilitators relating to reimbursements from the Fund. For this reason, Board shall make the record of requests for reimbursement and amounts paid available to any individual who wishes to see that record.