Through her non-profit organization Taylor touched many lives, saved countless “critters” and educated many on how to make a difference for the little animals. She lost her battle to cancer May 30 at the age of 76.
“We requested that rather than buying flowers, etc., that condolences be expressed in the form of donations to God’s Little Critters in memory of my wife,” said her husband of 55 years, Stan Taylor.
“Seeing all of those cards come in sent a strong message of just how much people really valued her and her passion for animals,” added Taylor, who also serves as vice president of God’s Little Critters.
To help his wife’s passion live on, Taylor announced the organization’s plan to ensure “critter” coverage as the calls continue to come in.
“People keep asking me what the plan is, but it is just too soon,” he said. “In the meantime, we need to ensure the public has someone to turn to when they encounter a little critter in trouble. That’s what Maribeth would want.”
Shortly after Maribeth’s death in May, God’s Little Critters announced plans to turn its operations over to local businessman Bob Calala, who had planned to run the operation out of a Plymouth property.
Who you going to call?
Plans have changed though and the organization since decided to leverage the services of existing wildlife rehabilitators and educators at nearby facilities that are already established.
“It took my wife years to master the art of caring for multiple species of raptors, reptiles, mammals, etc. and getting the property up to code to qualify for all of the necessary permits to allow her to receive animals,” Taylor said.
“This is something that requires a bit of trial and error, as well as a solid team of volunteers, wildlife officers and veterinarians familiar with and willing to support the cause and sponsor you.”
The organization felt it was important to get the animals care that needed it as soon as possible.
Wildlife Haven, located in Crestline, agreed to take calls for God’s Little Critters and already has taken in a significant number of birds and mammals. The Medina Raptor Center also has been fielding some calls involving raptors and songbirds, but said they can’t commit to their ability to respond to calls 100 percent of the time as it would significantly impact their workload, which is already peaked this time of year.
“Both of these organizations have been in the business of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and education for a very long time; we already had a solid relationship with them,” Taylor said.
“We’ve also reached out to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary down in Mansfield, who, like the Medina Raptor Center, take in raptors and songbirds.”
Taylor also pointed out that Castlaia’s Back to the Wild is another great option, particularly for those situations where someone lives further north. Like Wildlife Haven, they deal with all types of animals, not just raptors and songbirds.
“So there are plenty of folks out there willing to help, to include our volunteers in the Norwalk and Willard areas, who are trained and have been with us for years,” he said. “They’ve been great and have made themselves available to field calls, as well as facilitate transporting animals, as most rely on the public to bring animals to their facilities.”
When asked who to call when you have a wildlife situation, Taylor said it really comes down to “what type of animal you have, where it is located and which facility can accommodate it.”
“We’ve been directing the majority of calls to Wildlife Haven,” he added.
“They are in pretty close proximity to where we are located and take in all types of animals. They are willing to continue fielding calls and were doing this way before God’s Little Critters, Inc. was even established. In fact, it was after Maribeth and my daughter visited their facility that Maribeth decided to do this thing. If they aren’t able to help, they can refer callers to others who can.”
Taylor said the most important thing to remember is that each of the organizations “rely heavily on the public when responding to wildlife calls.”
How you can help
If you should come across an animal that appears to be in need, before picking it up and taking it to one of these facilities, Taylor said you need to call a rehabilitator and explain the situation. That business will tell you what to do and in a case where they cannot accommodate the animal, will refer you to another rehabilitator.
“We are all part of a pretty solid network; we all want what is best for the animals,” Taylor said.
Wildlife customers still can call God’s Little Critters for wildlife services, but they need to be aware they likely will be re-directed, unless it’s something that can be covered over the phone. Taylor said with this time of year, that’s often the case as people spot baby raccoons or rabbits wandering around without their mothers and think they’ve been abandoned.
“Nine times out of 10, the adults are watching their babies from afar and are merely attempting to familiarize their babies with their surroundings,” he said, adding God’s Little Critters gets plenty calls about baby birds as well.
Taylor said they have a tendency to pop out of the nest while testing their wings or getting re-situated.
“The best thing to do in that scenario is to just put them back in the nest, making sure it’s the correct nest,” he said. “The whole bit about being rejected once they have the scent of a human is completely untrue. The only time they are rejected is when you put them in the wrong nest.”
Anyone with questions or concerns can email God’s Little Critters agent Lynne Bayley at [email protected]
\Wildlife Haven can be contacted at 419-683-3228; Medina Raptor Center at 330-591-7300; Back to the Wild at 419-684-9539; and the Ohio Bird Sanctuary at 419-884-4295.