WOODSTOCK, Md (WMAR) — "A lot of people said I'll never amount to anything because I'm always trying to help out the underdog," said Colleen Layton-Robbins.
But Layton-Robbins will tell you that helping the underdog has amounted to a lot. It was 50 years ago that she rescued her first wild animals in need of help: baby bunnies stranded after their mother died. Years and thousands of animals later, she continues to save the lives of wildlife in Maryland.
Every year, her organization based out of her Woodstock home, Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary, Inc., takes in 5,000 orphaned, injured or displaced wild animals.
Her home is surrounded by dozens of enclosures, pens and shacks that provide homes for the eagles, monkeys, fawns, even hedgehogs, that have been brought to her in need of food, medical care or support.
This week, she has been nursing back to health seagulls that were injured in Laurel.
Laurel Police found 11 seagulls mowed down in a shopping center Saturday morning. One was still clinging to life and an officer drove it all the way to Frisky's to give it the best chance of recovering.
"That one had a broken wing, broken ribs and extreme loss of blood. It crossed over about 3-4 hours after it came in," said Layton-Robbins.
And then Tuesday, a Laurel resident found another injured seagull at a shopping center not far from where the attack happened and brought it to Frisky's. Layton-Robbins said it has a broken wing and will make a full recovery. They assume that seagull was also injured in the attack. She can't believe that someone would go out of their way to hurt the innocent animals.
"You're doing what you can and then they go out there and cause suffering on purpose?" said Layton-Robbins.
Unfortunately, 40 percent of the animals brought into her don't make it, but she still gives every single one her best effort and said she's happy to provide a safe place for their final moments.
"It wasn't out there suffering in pain with nothing caring. At least it had something, a human being, something wrapped around it caring for it," said Layton-Robbins.
For those that she is able to rehabilitate, they get released back into the wild. She said they don't make a lot of money in this business, but that pay off is very sweet.
"When the eagle flies or the duck waddles out of the enclosure and goes to the pond and it's the first time the duck has had real pond water on it and it loves it... that's your paycheck," said Layton-Robbins.
Frisky's is open for drop-off 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 10790 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock. They do not take pets or adult deer. The nonprofit is completely volunteer-run and does not receive any federal, state or local funding. They provide species-specific diet and care and adequate enclosures. Animals deemed physically fit are either released into a local state park or, if they are exotic wildlife, stay in an enclosure for long-term care.
- Exotic bird food
- Cat food
- Fruit juices
- Hooded litter boxes
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Plastic toys
- Large exotic enclosures
- Animal feeds
- Wood shavings
- Non-toxic cleaners
The cost of a rehabilitative stay for each animal varies by species:
- Predatory birds- $300
- Opossums- $320
- Fawns- $1,350
- Foxes and skunks- $1,920
- Squirrels and rabbits- $400