MELBOURNE, Fla. — A Brevard County-based wildlife rescue group in danger of shutting down for good will stay open.
- Wild Florida Rescue raised $10,000
- Was forced to shut down for 30 days
- Looking to train volunteers for rescues
It was just one of several calls for Wild Florida Rescue on a busy Tuesday. A baby turtle had been attacked by a dog in a backyard in Palm Bay.
"I saw something in my dog's mouth, and it was a little turtle," said Rebecca Rhodes. "I called around to every vet I could find and they told me to call [Wild Florida Rescue]."
A call that wouldn't have been answered just a couple days ago.
Wild Florida Rescue found itself in dire financial straights, so much so, they were forced to shutdown for 30 days back in early June.
"I cried, I thought nobody cares, we are going to have to close," Heather Pepe of Wild Florida Rescue said. "We were just riding around saving all the animals we can. It seemed like nobody cares, do they? That's how we felt."
Pepe credits Spectrum News' June 11 story about their plight for rapidly spreading the word.
"I woke up in the morning, and heard my phone ping," says Pepe. "Then another ping. Another ping, ping. I didn't even recognize it because we usually don't get that many emails!"
Those emails were from people who saw the story and wanted to help — locals, some from Florida, even a person from California, all donating money to keep the nonprofit going.
"There were so many people messaging, I had to call the other co-founder and say people do care!" she said. "They care! Everybody cares!"
The group has tallied more than $10,000 so far.
Enough to get them back on their feet, and as of Monday, Wild Florida Rescue was back doing what it does best — help animals that can't help themselves.
"We didn't even know what hit us," Pepe said. "It was just so amazing to feel that. We really want to thank everybody."
Wild Florida Rescue is also now able to train new volunteers to take calls 24/7. To find out how to volunteer, or how to help out, head to the Wild Florida Rescue website.