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I have a couple friends that desperately need your help.

Their names are Keith Belisle and Kenny Lane. Keith and Kenny run a non-profit wildlife sanctuary here in Ocala FL called the Ocala Wildlife Sanctuary, or OWLS for short. OWLS main purpose is the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wild birds such as eagles, hawks, ducks and of course owls.

OWLS secondary mission is public education. Even though they are not required to, each year, they provide several hundred free wild bird education seminars to local schools and communities groups. Keith and Kenny believe this is the best way to help raise awareness, educate and preserve the natural habitats of these beautiful birds.

Like many others who run rescue centers, they do so selflessly. Most days they are up before dawn and are never in bed till well after midnight. OWLS depends completely on local donations and volunteers. They fund the shelter without the benefit of government funding because Federal Law dictates that all rescued birds except for 2 birds per species be returned to the wild or euthanized. OWLS, due to the type of care they provideand the faith he Federal Goverment has in OWLS, was given a Federal Exemption to this rule. So, except for very extreme situations, all birds are rehabilitated and released or in the case of animals that cannot return to the wild, OWLS look after them for the resdt of their life.

Well as I stated at the beginning of this letter, they need help. With the economy the way it is, donations are drying up. And that could not be happening at the worst time. The facility needs to build a whole new rescue center, at the tune of $40,000. The old building has suffered the ravages of weather and time and must be torn down. The Federal Government was reluctantly forced to remove their ability to rescue birds until they can build a new rescue center. This put them a risk of losing the whole wildlife sanctuary.

The sanctuary has changed the lives of some very special birds who cannot return to the wild, like a crow that suffers from epileptic like fits, most likely caused from flying into a window, who now has the ability to mimic human voices like a parrot. A goose whom had developed a friendship with a blind horse on a farm and became his "guide dog", that is until he was nearly killed after vandals severed his bill, with wire cutters, "just for fun". And then there is Hobie, a great horned owls, who fell victim seventeen years ago to a machete that severed one of his wings and left him fighting for life. Hobie is now the "face" of OWLS. All of these birds are living a wonderful life under the love and care of Keith & Kenny.

These two amazing men have dedicated their lives to these birds.. to the extent that they did not eat for 3 days so they could pay an electric bill after the long cold snap we had in Florida. Now Keith has been diagonised with cancer and we are all concerned with the future of the sancturary. The loss of the ability to rescue these birds and the knowledge that they will be unnecessarily destroyed, is devastating. Just the other day, Keith told me about an Bald Eagle that they recently rescued. Due to its injuries (it was poisoned), at any other sanctuary, would have immediately been put down. At the request of the Federal Fish and Game (due in most part to their confidence in OWLS) they were asked to attempt to rehabilitate the Bald Eagle instead of immediately euthanizing. After several days of love, care and patients, Keith and Kenny had the pleasure of personally releasing this magnificent bird back to the air.

Please, anything you can do can only help. I am not asking for anything for me, I am only a volunteer. But they are the type to never ask for themselves.

For more information or to donate, please visit their website at owls-ocalainc.org.

Thank You,
Gregory Hanes
The Yin Yang Group

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