Please help me to help Bruce. Do like and share this. It seems the only way left to get ACRES to listen is by making more noise.
Two months ago, a small young bat flew into my house and refused to leave, hiding behind my television, under my stove. He was hungry, and took milk and water fed to him by a straw, following which he would skulk back to his hiding place.
I went online to figure out what to do with him. I was told that I should under no circumstance release a bat that came to me back into the wild, and that I should contact a bat sanctuary. Following which I googled “Singapore bat santuary” and came up with nothing. At a loss as to what to do, I googled how one was to care for a bat, and hence, made a warmer home for him in a cardboard box.
Over the past two months I’ve fed him, kept him warm, gave him baths. His name is Bruce. He was allowed to roam around the first level of house at night once I convinced my mom he was clean after I bathed him. I put him on plants in the balcony and high places so he could fly about. When he got tired and wanted to sleep he would climb or fly back into his box. I effectively became quite nocturnal due to this.
Last week, I went out for two hours. When I came back, I took him out immediately as usual to feed him his live worms. I discovered blood on his cloth he liked to hang from.
Upon further inspection, I realised it was coming from his wing. I was completely freaked out, for the lack of better expression. But all the vets were closed, and the 24 clinics did not accept bats. I didn’t know what to do, so I fed him, wrapped him in a warm cloth and didn’t really sleep that night.
The next day, a friend suggested I call ACRES. At that point in time, I managed to find a vet willing to take a look. However, they would only be open on the next day. On the phone, the lady from the ACRES wildlife rescue said that they could come in two hours. She did say, however that they would put him down if he could not survive in the wild. I called them back after that sank in, and they said they would just come down and see if they could help, if that was the case.
When the two ACRES personnel came down to my house, however, they sang a different tune. They told me that if there was a caretaker for Bruce he would not be put down if he could not fly. They told me that point blank. As it appeared that they could get him treated the fastest I let him go with them. I trusted what they said was true, considering they said it with such certainty and assumed that what was said on the phone was a misunderstanding.
That was the only reason why I let him go with them instead of trying my luck at other vets.
They told me that they would call me back with updates. For five days I had to call them for them to even deign to call me back. Even then, I was told nothing about his condition. Nothing.
I got a phone call five days later. From a Joseph.
He apologised for the wrong impression that the volunteers might have given me, and told me that they could not return Bruce to me because of their strict policy.
So you are telling me that every single person in your organisation that I contacted over those five days had no idea about this strict policy? This strict policy that is basically about what your entire branch is about – wildlife rescue? Not one of the people I spoke with over the phone knew about this and could bother to tell me I was lied to?
He told me that they weren’t even going to bother trying to fix his wing, and that they wanted to euthanise him.
For five days he was left untreated. They did nothing to fix his wing for five days. His wound was left open for five days. They did the bare minimum that even I, without medical training, could do. They sanitised the wound. They fed him (albeit not what he usually likes to eat). That was it.
They were not willing at all to try to give him a simple surgical procedure that could save his wing. I was told that amputation was the only other way, but when I pressed the representative, he admitted that it was because Bruce might bite at his wing. So that was it? Why could it not be covered till he healed?
Then he ignored what I said and started blabbering on about how amputation would cause him to be unable to fly and survive in the wild and so he would have to be euthanised. Doesn’t that go without saying? Why aren’t you even trying to fix his wing?
He evaded my question and talked about Bruce’s quality of life with an amputated wing, as if it were the only option available. It isn’t.
Okay, so I understand if ACRES and their pro bono vets are unwilling to fork out money to pay for a little yellow house bat’s surgery. After all he is quite common. Surgery would cost a few hundred dollars. He is not endangered. Doesn’t make for a good story on the Straits Times. So I offered to take him to another vet with my own money. They refused.
What possible grounds could a wildlife organisation like ACRES have for refusing my offer to pay for Bruce’s medical treatment? On what possible grounds could you refuse an offer to help him? On what possible grounds could you have left this poor little guy untreated for five days (7 days as of 16th September)? How many other animals are neglected like this by your pro bono vets?
Why can’t you just let me help him?