Southern Virginia's first wildlife rehab center is now open after a year long battle with local government.
"I can kiss all over this possum and love all over this possum. You should never be able to do that with a possum," Tanya Lovern, said with an opossum named Lucy on her shoulder.She says the wild animal was raised indoors.
"She would sleep in beds with people and she basically thinks that she's a domesticated pet," Lovern said.
But it took a while for the city to let her open the Southside Virginia Wildlife Center.
Danville has no zoning rules for a wildlife rehabilitation business because no one's been interested in opening one.
City leaders made an exception when a Lovern came to town.The center, complete with wildlife decor, is home to dozens of creatures.
"Hey! These I've raised since they were two weeks old," Lovern said, pointing at squirrels playing in a cage.
Lovern is a licensed and permitted wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina and Virginia allowing her to care for sick, injured or young wild animals, like her black mask friends Honey and Biscuit.
"When it gets warmer I actually teach them how to fish, I teach them how to find food," Lovern said.
Though they all seem fun to play with, none of them will be here permanently.
Lovern takes the animals in with one purpose, to get them back to their natural environment.
"I try to make them wild and as successful out in the wild as I can and to see them and go release them is amazing. It's an amazing feeling," Lovern said.
The closest rehabilitator is in Roanoke or Campbell County.
If it wasn't for her, most of the animals, like new born squirrels that came into the center Wednesday, may have died.
Lovern says she's released hundreds of animals back into the wild.
This is probably as close as you'll get to this rehab because she says the animals don't need human contact.