Permits reinstated for Virginia Beach SPCA

(Photo courtesy of Marielena Balouris)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Permits have been reinstated for staff members of the Virginia Beach SPCA.

The SPCA said in a statement that suspensions were rescinded and permits reinstated following a series of meetings with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). Staff at the SPCA had their permits suspended after the DGIF says employees did not properly report an injured bald eagle.

The SPCA said it was fully staffed to resume its rehab program on Friday, June 9. They continued in their statement:

We are so pleased the issue has been resolved, and we are able to resume our rehabilitation program. Lives of wildlife in our community depend on it.”

On Monday, 10 On Your Side spoke with Lacy Kuller, the Vice President and CFO of the Virginia Beach SPCA. She says the calls for injured wildlife haven’t stopped, and they’re glad they can finally take them in.

“When the permit suspension came down, that’s all we could think about was, wow, the timing is really unfortunate, because this is our busiest time of year. So it’s the orphaned wildlife and the injured wildlife that really suffered because of that suspension,” said Kuller.

Kuller says the SPCA acknowledges it delayed the DGIF’s criminal investigation into who killed the bald eagle, and that they have new procedures to make sure the reporting mistake never happens again.

The suspension also affected outside rehabbers who have been flooded with the animals the SPCA was unable to take in. Jim Flengas, with Evelyn’s Wildlife Rescue, said, “We’re glad that it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be, that they did get reinstated without having to wait until February, which is a good thing. It’s a good help to all of southeastern Virginia here as far as the rehabbing is concerned.”

Flengas says many rehabbers are at capacity with animals the SPCA was unable to care for. He said, “We’re still feeling the effects of it and we probably will for some time to come because it’s a tremendous backlog.”

Kuller says the outside rehabbers and community members helped them through the suspension.

“The outpouring of support from the community really was able to get us through all of this,” she said.