Our Services

Meet Our Patients - Baltimore Oriole


Patient #1995 was brought in by one of the very knowledgeable staff at Eagle Optics, birding guru Mike McDowell, to the shelter after flying into a window.  The window hit had resulted in damage to her Coracoid, a bone located in the area where the wings and chest meet.  She had trouble perching, but she had lots of spunk! She was a good eater, and she often nipped at the volunteers too.  She was also put on an anti-inflammatory pain medication called Metacam, and with plenty of cage rest, she was soon flying.

Read more about the Baltimore Oriole on the FLWC blog.

Welcome to DCHS's Wildlife Center

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Our Mission

Dane County Humane Society’s (DCHS) Wildlife Center is dedicated to providing responsible care for the ill, injured and orphaned wildlife of south central Wisconsin, and to promoting education and awareness of the crucial role of wildlife in our community.

Our History

DCHS's Wildlife Center, a program of DCHS, was founded in 2002 by David Madden, former animal care director at DCHS, and Patrick Comfert, a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator. In the inaugural season, the fledgling wildlife program received over 200 patients.

After the first summer’s influx of wildlife, the program began recruiting volunteers to help care for the wildlife patients that found their way through the doors daily. Grants and donations helped to make many improvements possible during the second year, and community volunteers pitched in to help build outdoor cages.

With the outpouring of community support and an excited team of volunteers, the wildlife program progressed into its third season. The number of volunteers became large enough to care for a wider variety of animals, and to keep the wildlife center’s doors open from morning to night.

With the support of the community, each year the wildlife program continues to improve the facilities and the level of care they are able to provide their wild patients.  To this day, wildlife caretaker volunteers provide the majority of the animal care. DCHS's Wildlife Center is wrapping up its 13th year after caring for over 3,000 wild animals in need. Like many of the animals cared for at the Wildlife Center, the program has room to grow and the future is very promising.




Wildlife Center Tour Stop 12

Want to learn more? Become a volunteer! More information and an application are available.

We can also use your financial help. 100% of our budget comes from donations from the community--we don't receive any federal, state, or local funding.

 Wildlife Center Donate

Select "Wildlife Center" under "Designation"


Thank you for touring DCHS's Wildlife Center!


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Ways You Can Help the at the Wildlife Center


Volunteers are critical to the success of Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center. We only recruit new Wildlife Center volunteers from January - March.

Here are some of the responsibilities our volunteers fulfill:

Wildlife Caretaker

Caring for wildlife is very rewarding, but it is very different than caring for domestic species. Our goal in wildlife rehabilitation is for the animals to be released back into their natural habitat to live out their life as they were meant to – wild and free.  In order for this to happen, these animals need to remain wild and have a healthy fear of people. This means that we don’t talk to our patients, pet them, name them or treat them in any way like we would a domestic animal.  If you are looking to connect with animals in this way, wildlife rehabilitation is probably not the right fit for you. If you can understand and respect this difference, it is a truly unique opportunity to work closely with amazing wild animals and we’d love to have you on our team! Winter is traditionally a slower time of year for the wildlife center, but soon spring will be upon us and we will begin to see lots of baby animals coming through our doors. Recruitment for this position will end when the positions fill up, but no later than April 1.

Requirements of the position:

  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • All volunteers must attend a DCHS general volunteer orientation.
  • All volunteers must attend a Wildlife Center orientation and all training sessions as required of this position
  • Volunteers must commit to a minimum of one shift per week through mid October.
    • From the time you would begin training through the first week in April, shifts are 2 hours in length. During the busy spring and summer seasons, shifts are 3 to 4-hours in length. Available daily shift times beginning in April include 7:15 -11:45am, 11:30am-3:45pm, 3:30-7:00pm and 6:45-10:00 pm.
  • Volunteers should have the ability to stand on concrete floors for four hours, bend and squat, work in all weather conditions (including high heat) and are not averse to working hard and getting dirty.




Wildlife Reception Assistant

Wildlife reception assistants help with public phone inquiries and admitting of wildlife for eventual release back into the wild.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Assist the public
  • Check and return phone messages
  • Greet people and have them start filling out paperwork for new admissions
  • Administrative tasks
  • Enter wildlife patients into our database
  • Update patient resolutions – recordkeeping
  • Photocopy wildlife forms

       Requirements of the position:

  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • Attend orientation and all training sessions as required of this position
  • Position is shift based with a minimum of one (1) 2 hour shift worked per week for a minimum of four (4) months.
  • Volunteers must commit to a minimum of one shift per week through mid October 
    • Shifts are 2 hours in length. The first shift begins at 8:00 am and the last shift of each day begins at 8:00 pm.

To volunteer at the Wildlife Center, you must complete a volunteer application.



Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center offers unpaid internships for college students and recent graduates. Read more about our internship opportunities.


Provide a protected release site for our patients

An important part of the rehabilitation process is releasing the animal in an area with proper habitat and protection from some of the dangers they face to give them the best chance possible to be successful.  If you own a rural parcel of land and you would like it to become home to some of the wildlife who have been cared for at the Wildlife Center, please download the application and return it to our office. Interested? Fill out a Wildlife Release Site Application. 


Wildlife Center Tour Stop 11

The happiest days at DCHS's Wildlife Center are when we are able to release an animal back to the wild. On October 9, 2013 two of our volunteers returned the snapping turtle to Lost Lake in Dodge County, near where he was found.


The wonderful people who found the turtle were able to be there for this happy occasion.

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