Wildlife rehab center given five months to vacate their current location

Apr 4, 2023, 8:00 PM

bald eagles injured...

This bald eagle appeared to have been hit by a car when it was taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. Bald eagles often spend winters in northern Utah. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah has been issued an eviction notice of Sept. 6. The center says it needs more time to find a new location. Photo: WRCNU

OGDEN, Utah — The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah said they received a surprise eviction notice from Ogden City.  They must be out of the place they’ve called home for 12 years by Sept. 6, 2023.

 DaLyn Marthaler, the executive director of the center currently rehabilitates and releases around 150 different species of wildlife back into its natural habitat each year.  But it requires specific State and Federal guidelines to do their work, which takes time.

A long process

“It could take months to find the right facility which can house all the animals we take in.” said Marthaler.  “Another four months to get the funding we need to buy the property and several more to get the state and federal licensing.”

Marthaler said the most surprising information they received about the eviction is that the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park will be expanding into the rehab center’s current space. 

“We were in talks last year about adding some buildings on our property we could both share.  Nothing was ever discussed about us having to leave.” Marthaler stated.

Angela Horn, the executive director for the Eccles Dinosaur Park, said the Board of Directors has had plans for this expansion for years.  Horn stated she took over the job last October, but the Board already had the funding to put in a new parking lot and build new displays as soon as the land becomes vacant.  She said she didn’t have many more details as the Board hasn’t spoken much about their expansion plans.

No communication from city administrators

The Ogden City Council also says they were in the dark about the eviction notice given to the wildlife center.  Chairwoman, Angela Choberka, said “we didn’t know about these plans until the eviction letter was sent to them by rehabilitation center.”  

“Several council members have requested an extension to the city administration to give the center more time, but they haven’t heard anything back yet.” said Choberka.

Choberka also confirmed the mayor’s office has sole discretion with city land. Which both the wildlife center and the dinosaur park are currently using.

Several calls to the Ogden Mayor’s office for comment have not been returned.

Hoping for an extension

The need for more time is critical, according to Marthaler.  She said they are prohibited, by law, from treating wild animals in a place without the proper zoning and licensing. 

“Because we take care of both prey and predator wildlife, they need to be housed so they don’t come into contact with each other.” Marthaler stated.  “Even if we find property which is zoned for our purposes, we will probably have to build multiple areas for the 150-species we rehab.”

It’s also the worst time of year to plan for the short notice eviction. Because the center takes in 79% of their patients between April and September.

Marthaler said if they can’t get an extension to the Sept. 6 eviction deadline, they will have to close their doors on April 30. 

“Any animals still in our care on September 6th will have to be euthanized,” Marthaler said. 

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Wildlife rehab center given five months to vacate their current location