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Ramona wildlife center unveils new vet building

The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona just got a much-needed facelift. The center, which rehabilitates wounded wildlife with the hopes of releasing native species back into their natural habitat, unveiled its new medical facility on Feb. 6.

The new 5,200-square-foot veterinary building is located on the center’s existing 13-acre site at 18740 Highland Valley Road, but is a major upgrade from the previous facility, which the center’s director, Ali Crumpacker, said was essentially a 1920s dog kennel.

The general contractor on the $1 million project was Bruce Hoefferle of BCH Construction.

The nonprofit organization is funded through private donations, and this new building was no exception. The medical facility includes proper operating rooms and diagnostic areas to handle the roughly 500 patients the facility sees every year. Crumpacker said the center specializes in native predators like mountain lions, hawks, owls, coyotes and bobcats, though they work with other injured wildlife as well.

She said the center tries to ensure that veterinarians and park rangers know about its services, since the public tends to reach out to those groups when they encounter an injured animal.

Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, attended the ribbon cutting of the new facility, and said it will allow The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center to expand its recuperation efforts.

“This medical facility will be able to upgrade care for black bears, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, owls, skunks, raccoons and so many other species native to southern California,” Pacelle wrote in a blog post about the event.

He said that most animals brought to the center only stay for a few hours to a few days to recover from their injury, though some remain at the center for several months before being released back into their natural habitat.

Crumpacker said the public is welcome to drop off injured wildlife at the center, though she noted that the facility is not open to the public for any tours, as that is detrimental to the animals’ recovery. She also said people are encouraged to call the center if they encounter an animal they they’re unsure is in distress, as it could be playing ill or dead as a survival tactic.

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