Back to the Wild back in a bind

“If just 10 companies, or individuals would pledge $10,000 each year to our cause, we could make it. Right now, the only two companies that are doing that are in the Cleveland area”
Tom Jackson
Mar 16, 2014


Back to the Wild, hurt by the loss of an important supply of free food for its hawks and owls, is appealing to the public to aid its mission of healing wounded or sick wild animals and returning them back to their habitat.

Back to the Wild founder Mona Rutger says her group is facing the most serious financial crunch of its 24-year existence.

“Our source for rodents we rely on to feed all our injured wildlife and permanent residents has gone,” she explained in an email she sent to the Register.

The Charles River Lab facility in Portage, Mich., is shutting down and laying off 84 employees.

“They literally had hundreds of thousands of clean (no research chemicals in them) rats and mice daily that they euthanized and had to throw away, so they donated them daily to zoos, rehab centers and nature centers all over” Rutger said.

Back to the Wild utilized Charles Lab and would make the trip once a month to collect its share of rodents. Each trip saved Back to the Wild thousands of dollars, she said.    

“Our center alone will now need an additional $80,000 a year to keep our doors open, just to purchase the rodents we need. I just placed an order and filled our 10 freezers, but it cost over $4,000 and won’t last long until I have to reorder from companies that sell rodents” Rutger said.

Rutger said it’s important to make two points clear: She’s not shutting down; and nothing will happen to the animals she has.

“People are calling asking when we are shutting our doors for good. I don’t plan to ever do that. I will find a way, somehow, somewhere, to not let the community down and all those who have supported us through the years. There has to be an answer to this” she said.

Rutger says that best answer would be if a few companies or people could pledge $10,000 a year to help Back to the Wild keep its doors open.

“If just 10 companies, or individuals would pledge $10,000 each year to our cause, we could make it. Right now, the only two companies that are doing that are in the Cleveland area” she said.

Sustainable funding would allow Back to the Wild to know it can carry out its mission.

“Today alone, we took in 12 injured wild animals, but that’s a slow day. In the spring and summer, we can take in over 25 to 30 animals each day and every visitor is offered a tour of our center” she said.

“We never charge, but hope that some will be able to leave a donation to help care for the animal they brought in. Most do not leave a donation” she said.

Other ways to help
“We have had just a handful of generous bequests left in wills to Back To The Wild over the years, that have literally kept us afloat. If this would happen a few more times, it could make all the difference” Rutger said.

Being part of a person’s last wishes is gratifying for Rutger.

“We found these bequests have made a major difference in keeping our doors open and have meant a lot to the families who wanted to be sure our work could continue,” she said. “They felt good knowing they were providing for our center, even with their passing”

Those donors make “the kindest, most unselfish gift and legacy,” she said, and they are acknowledged at the center with plaques and inscribed pavers.



Start with the children. Maybe they can give a dollar each. Maybe their parents can give a dollar each. Maybe everyone in Erie county can give a dollar each. Maybe you can put cans for collections in all the stores. Maybe starts with you and me.


Hit the bikers up for money during Bike week... they got money. Also, ask for donations during your County fair. Get an FB page and . Get the word out on news media, local TV stations, CNN, etc.


It is harder than you think to get money from people..Due to people thinking your a scam and the money is not for the cause. I bet If I walked around Bike week not many would give.Maybe Mona could set a free booth up just for the cause at Bike Week..I would work it for free!!!!


With all of the free educational programs Mona has conducted over the years, I'd think schoolchildren (and their parents) could donate $1 easily enough! It's a small amount that wouldn't hurt to give, but dollars add up and could make a very real difference.

I've never been able to give a lot, but I've supported Back to the Wild for years. Given that a lot of those animals are injured thanks to human carelessness or stupidity, it's only right that humans do what they can to restore those animals to their proper place. Back to the Wild gives everything every day. I'd think most of us could give a couple of bucks to a cause we KNOW won't waste or divert the money!

indolent indiff...

we all should chip in $10,000 To Remodel her property and build her another barn or building


Sigh for sarcasm. Some people don't know how to shut off the keyboard


I heard some realy good suggestions Maybe they could volentier some time and help them move on with your ideas.....

Just a kind thought thank you.


The Sandusky Register could have given their address so people who wanted to send a check could do so! But thats ok, I'll take the time to look it up.


Back to the Wild
4504 Bardshar Rd.
Castalia, OH 44824
(419) 684-9539

Does anyone here have experience with crowdfunding? GoFundMe was mentioned above. Here is a cf site for non-profits and causes. They even offer a free "how to" email course:

Maybe someone would be willing to set up a "project" for BttW so that people could be directed toward it to donate....?


MBR = Mona B Rutger, correct?


Anything will help them!! Even $5

Darwin's choice

Mona should lobby Washington, DC, there's plenty of rats there that should be eaten....


Speaking of Washington, can't they give some of that money they have to HER to help out. we always send money OUT OF THIS COUNTRY...maybe its time to send money to someone doing good INSIDE this country. Sustainable income to her.