A local animal rescue is raising money to expand its cause in Rogers County, but it needs help.
Annette Tucker has owned Wild Heart Ranch since 1996 and for the last five years she has co-owned the rescue with Sandy Brooks.
They have more than 20 volunteers at any given time and up to 600 animals at any given time. They never turn an injured animal away.
“We take the worst of the worst,” said Tucker, as she talked about Winston, a pug that’s intestines were scrambled when he was born. Now, he is happy and uses his own heater from time to time and also shares it with some parrots.
Tucker takes in all kinds of wildlife, including birds of prey. The rescue is licensed through the state and the federal government as a rehabilitation facility for all species of wildlife needing orphan support, injury treatment or disease recovery.
The rescue operates on ten acres of land but 40 acres just opened up across the street from Tucker and she wants it badly for her healing animals and the new ones that will come to her this year.
“We will take all animals because a dying dog in North Dakota means the same to me as a dying dog here in Rogers County,” said Tucker. “I donate to shelters and rescues across the country.”
The 40 acres is for sale for $130,000. The property owners want WHR to have it so they have lowered the price to $80,000. Tucker started raising the money four weeks ago, after realizing she could not waste any more time.
“I lost my best friend a few months ago, Kiara, my mountain lion. I had her for 12 years. Her feet were mangled when she was born and we saved her. When I lost her that reality hit me that life is so short and there are other animals just like Kiara that didn’t have hope and need life and family and shelter. It just dawned on me; what If I miss purchasing those 40 acres and somebody buys it and puts homes on it for people, or turns it into a hunting lease? I won’t have that happen.”
She turned to her Facebook fans. The Wild Heart Ranch is known all over the world and has more than 15,800 fans and 80 percent of them, according to Tucker, are from Oklahoma.
“We have the most dedicated followers on Facebook. They are not passive at all!”
She has raised almost $40,000 so far and needs a little over $15,000 to close on a contract by January 31st. Many friends mailed checks or donated online through her website at www.wildheartranch.org.
The Claremore Animal Shelter hopes she gets the space she needs because they are constantly turning people away who call or come into the shelter with an animal that is not from within the city limits.
It’s only funded through the state. Rogers County must have 200,000 residents for the state to fund a county shelter. So, the Claremore shelter always tells people with sick or injured animals to call Tucker.
“It’s heartbreaking, very heartbreaking,” said Claremore’s Animal Control officer Rocky Armbrister. “We get calls about dumped animals, people that find animals that are very good but sick and can’t keep them; puppies strayed, raccoon whose parents are dead and the homeowners found a bunch of starving baby raccoons; and we can’t take anything outside of our jurisdiction. We call Annette Tucker all the time for help with these situations. Anything that we ask Annette to do, Annette does. If she has resources available, then she will send them our way, she has never turned us down.”
“I have been the Claremore Animal Shelter’s number one volunteer since it opened and the state started funding it over seven years ago,” said Tucker. “When I get to start building on that land across the street I will make the shelter an integral part of the design. I need to work with the same people who build that shelter so that we have the best wild and domestic animal rescue facility in the country.”
Even if she does not get enough money by the deadline, January 31st, she will find a way to buy that land for her loved ones.