The Kawarthas-based raccoon sanctuary Mally’s Third Chance recently faced the prospect of closing their doors after months of scrambling for consistent funding to rehabilitate the injured and orphaned raccoons under its care. After the community rallied to cover about half of their monthly expenses, the owners say they still have to drastically reduce capacity to stay afloat.
Co-owners Derek and Betty, who prefer to be identified by their first names due to the sensitive nature of animal rescue, started the centre a decade ago after finding an injured baby raccoon that they were unable to save because of a lack of support. They named her Mally, and opened the sanctuary with the belief that raccoons—which are often rejected from overwhelmed animal welfare centres—deserve second and third chances.
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“A life is a life, and any species, any animal, is important,” says Derek. Raccoons are particularly prone to ending up injured and vulnerable, as they often traverse urban areas and are at risk of being hit by cars, attacked by other animals like dogs, or left orphaned as babies.
Though the team has applied for nonprofit designation, it has yet to come through, which makes both operating costs and fundraising efforts more difficult. With about $20,000 in monthly costs, Derek and Barb have often been without stable funding, using their spare time to fundraise and even dipping into their personal savings. On July 31, they posted to their Facebook page, announcing Mally’s impending closure.
Followers stepped in to help, and as of August 13, committed to more than $13,000 in monthly funding. Derek said he and Barb are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support, though they’re wary of continued strain going forward. For now, they’ve decided to operate at half capacity—they normally have space for up to 150 raccoons—and halt intake, in order to keep the work manageable.
“It has been beyond stressful and has drained our personal funding and this remains no way to run a wildlife center,” they wrote. “We never know if we can help one tomorrow or not… Our passion has taken all we have, money heart, and soul.”
Mally’s is a passion project for both Derek and Barb, and they don’t have backgrounds in fundraising or administration. “I have a day job too, and I was spending all my evenings trying to raise money for the animals, and it’s just exhausted us,” Derek said.
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Derek says viewing them as nuisance animals is false and unhelpful and leads to the kinds of encounters that send the animals to Mally’s. Raccoons eat animal carcasses, stray garbage, and wasp larvae, Derek explains, which is helpful to the endangered bee population. “They’re very much part of the ecosystem, as any species would be,” he said. “I’ve heard lots of comments about how there’s no purpose for them, but in reality, there’s a purpose for everything.”
How you can donate to Mally’s Third Chance
If you’re interested in supporting Mally’s, they are accepting donations through PayPal other options for donating can be found on their website by clicking here.
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