Saint Francis of Assisi has nothing on Gary Brady and the more than 200 abused and unwanted animals he cares for can attest to that!!
Gary Brady operates an animal rescue sanctuary in Vero Beach, Florida called Critter Haven. It all started when his now deceased wife asked for a pet. Brady gave her a hermit crab because he didn’t want to get too attached ----soon after their home was overrun with birds, reptiles and mammals.
Brady began designing and constructing multiple custom buildings for the different species on his 10 acre lot. “Without our efforts these animals would be released into the wild upsetting the balance of indigenous species, in turn bringing about devastation to the ecosystem which could result in danger to humans and domestic animals.”
“It all started so long ago” recalls Brady. Today, Critter Haven is licensed, regulated and inspected by the Florida Fish and Wild Life Conservation Commission. “We cooperate with Law Enforcement, Animal Control, and other agencies and are granted the right to give immunity to those who surrender their illegal reptiles to us.”
To fulfill the health and medical needs of all the various species, Brady deals with four veterinary hospitals. His general manager is a Tech II with veterinary care knowledge. A small group of volunteers and paid personnel care for the animals. “We do fecal exams, administer shots, and give medications at our own lab. Medical checks are given to all the animals routinely.
On a tour of the facility it was truly heartwarming to see how all the animals reacted to seeing Brady. It was as if they knew he was their savior. Equally enlightening was to see the love on Brady’s face for each animal as he called them by name and reached out to them.
It has been 18 years since Brady, now 74 years old, started Critter Haven. He has personally supported his dream out of pocket including construction, medical bills, feed and labor costs but the need is growing beyond his abilities to provide all the proper care and needs the animals depend on. Animals from law enforcement, animal control, pet shops and the humane societies have been taken in. “If the money runs out all the animals will have to be euthanized and I couldn’t live with myself if that happened” Brady utters with eyes tearing up, “they would have to euthanize me first.”
Critter Haven is now a non-profit organization and is depending on your donations to keep Gary's family of animals safe.