Volunteer animal rescue group in a crunch, asks for community help

They’re like the "Rescue Rangers" of Brevard County -- a small volunteer outfit that helps critters in distress. Now, they’ve hit a bump in the road, and they’re asking for the community’s help.

Wild Florida Rescue has been closed while they concentrate on fundraising, instead of answering calls.

“A lot of the things we see are caused by humans, like fishing lines, trash, they get stuck in things or run over, so I feel like it’s on us to help them,” said Crystene Prokop.

Prokop drives around in converted Ford Titanium van; it’s her animal ambulance.

“At four in the morning, I got a call, I got out of bed, there was a great horned owl stuck in somebody’s grill,” Prokop said.

Crystene volunteers with the group Wild Florida Rescue. It was founded in 2017 and last year the group dealt with 4,000 requests for help.

“We get to reunite a lot of babies with their moms, that’s always a great feeling.” Prokop said.

But Crystene’s director says expenses are too high, especially the insurance cost of $3,500. The group did the math a few weeks ago and kicked off a major fundraising initiative. If they don’t find the cash, they’ll have to shut it down.

“Because we’re not funded by anybody, we’re not funded by the government,” Prokop said.

But the group is using Facebook and word-of-mouth, asking animal lovers to chip in, and it’s working.

“Yes, it’s really great, the amount of support we’re getting from the community. One of the vets, the Eau Gallie vet raised $800 for us, so that was awesome,” Prokop said.

The group will spend the rest of June looking for donors and grants, and on July 6, if the pot is right, they’ll officially reopen.