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Part 184: Wildlife Rehabilitators

(Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-0303,11-0305[2], 11-0515)



§184.1 Purpose

(a) The proper care of distressed wildlife requires special knowledge and facilities not possessed by the general public. The purpose of this Part is to establish a specially trained group of individuals, collectively called wildlife rehabilitators, to provide for the care of injured and debilitated wildlife so that such wildlife may be returned to the wild. Appointed by the Department of Environmental Conservation and licensed pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law, section 11-0515, the wildlife rehabilitator is authorized to possess wildlife found by other persons and provide necessary aid. By encouraging that injured or debilitated wildlife be placed in the care of specially trained wildlife rehabilitators, it is possible to achieve more humane care and greater expectation that distressed wildlife can be returned to the wild.

(b) Nothing in this Part authorizes or is intended to authorize a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to practice veterinary medicine in violation of article 135 of the Education Law. A rehabilitator rendering gratuitous services in case of emergency should not attempt diagnosis or treatment beyond his or her level of skill and training.

§184.2 Definitions

(a) Commissioner means the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation.

(b) Department means the Department of Environmental Conservation.

(c) License means the license to possess wildlife issued pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law, section 11-0515.

(d) Wildlife means animal life existing in a wild state.

(e) Wildlife rehabilitator means Class II, Class I, and Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator.

(f) Wildlife rehabilitation means the practice of providing care for injured or debilitated wildlife, including their capture, housing, feeding, emergency treatment and release to the wild.

§184.3 Qualifications for appointment

(a) The Class I Wildlife Rehabilitator and Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator must:

(1) be over the age of 16 years, a resident of New York, of good character and reputation in the community as judged by two character references written by persons not related to the applicant or to each other;

(2) not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation or misdemeanor under the Environmental Conservation Law or settled and compromised a civil liability therefor, nor have been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony within the previous three years;

(3) receive a grade of 80 percent or higher on a written examination administered by the department and designed to test knowledge in the field of wildlife rehabilitation; and

(4) be interviewed, by a regional department employee responsible for the wildlife rehabilitation program, to assess the applicant's proficiency in wildlife rehabilitation.

(b) The Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator, in addition to meeting the qualifications listed in subdivision (a) of this section, must have been a Class I Wildlife Rehabilitator for at least two years. Persons already certified as Class II Rehabilitators prior to the date this regulation was promulgated will continue to be certified at the Class II level.

(c) An Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator must:

(1) be nominated by a Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator and may assist only that nominating Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator; and

(2) meet the same character requirements as a Class I Wildlife Rehabilitator.

§184.4 Additional criteria for appointments

(a) The Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator may be assisted by and provide training to one or more assistant wildlife rehabilitators upon approval by the department of an outline of training methods and procedures to assure control over the activities of appointed assistant wildlife rehabilitators, but the Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator must be responsible for the proper performance of duties of all assistant wildlife rehabilitators whom he or she nominated, trained, and employs.

(b) A Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator may nominate an assistant wildlife rehabilitator who was trained by and previously assisted another Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator. In such case it shall be at the discretion of this Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator whether or not to require further training.

§184.5 Appointment

(a) Persons who meet or exceed the qualifications for appointment pursuant to Section 184.3 or Section 184.4 of this Part will be issued the appropriate wildlife rehabilitator license: Class I, Class II or Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator.

§184.6 Duties

(a) The wildlife rehabilitator must:

(1) practice wildlife rehabilitation in a humane and professional manner;

(2) consult licensed veterinarians as necessary to ensure that proper care is administered to injured or debilitated wildlife;

(3) not require payment for the care or treatment of wildlife. Nothing herein, however, will prevent the wildlife rehabilitator from accepting voluntary donations made toward rehabilitation services;

(4) comply with applicable provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto and with the department's instructions concerning methods of wildlife rehabilitation, reporting requirements and any conditions contained in his/her license;

(5) display in a prominent place the license provided by the department. A wildlife rehabilitator identification card must be carried by the permittee when in possession of wildlife afield;

(6) submit to the department in a timely manner all required records and reports properly executed;

(7) notify the department at least 90 days in advance of moving his/her place of operation to a new location;

(8) allow authorized department employees to inspect his/her wildlife rehabilitation operations and records at any reasonable time; and

(9) participate in training programs required by the department.

(b) Additionally, the wildlife rehabilitator may distribute, if appropriate, to persons who submit wildlife to him/her, any material supplied by the department relating to wildlife rehabilitation.

§184.7 Revocation of license

(a) The department may revoke a license issued pursuant to this Part if:

(1) A Class I or Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator has failed to perform duties as provided in section 184.6 of this Part; or

(2) An Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator no longer is endorsed by the nominating Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator, or the nominating Class II Wildlife Rehabilitator no longer possesses a valid license issued pursuant to this Part.