Roanoke wildlife rehab center worries about new tax law

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Some places in our hometowns that rely on charitable donations are concerned about the new tax laws.

For the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke - those concerns stretch from their bottom line to the birds who call Roanoke home.

Sabrina Garvin is the executive director of the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center.

They take in injured and orphaned animals - mostly songbirds, raptors and small mammals such as squirrels

"He was 40 percent underweight when he came in," Garvin said, pointing at a squirrel. "And he was missing a lot of hair."

It takes at least six figures a year to care for these critters and the center's demands are only increasing.

"We went from 1,200, to 1,400 then 1,500 last year and this year we've at 1,820 animals," Garvin said.

So the center relies heavily on grants and donations to function.
But Garvin worries the new tax laws will reduce the number of donations.

"Folks love to donate, but it also helps when you can write it off in your taxes and get some of that money back," she said. "So we're very concerned that this may drop the number of donations we get. We hope not but it's just a big concern."

Under the previous law, you'd be able to write off donations and itemize them. But now, standard deductions for individuals and families have doubled and they don't have to be itemized.

Garvin said that means there's less of an incentive for middle class families to give, or that they might give bigger chunks of money less frequently which makes her worry about the future of these animals.

"They are our future," she said, referring to the animals she rehabilitates. "If I ever have grandchildren this is something I not only want them to see but I know this will help with diseases but it's a beautiful thing to have wildlife but it is so important to us. "

The center was recently awarded a $55,000 grant for a new flight compound to help the raptors prepare to be released.

But they still need $28,000 to complete the project.