East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue reopens after fire

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FAIRFIELD, Pa. -- A different kind of animal rescue is back in business after a fire destroyed the facility and displaced dozens of animals.

East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue in Adams County is recovering from a tragic accident and is now open to the public. Volunteers were able to raise money through donations and grants to rebuild the facility.

Melissa Bishop, the office manager of the rescue, said, "It was exactly two years ago when the fire happened and it took us that long to raise all the funds and to rebuild and get the place ready so that it would be what it is today."

About 70 animals, from white tigers to monkeys to emus, temporarily didn't have a home. The rescue is a non-profit organization and a nursery for most of these exotic animals.

"We take in animals that maybe don't make a good zoo exhibit or a good display because they're sick, they're elderly, there's something going on with them that might make them limp," Bishop said.

They also take in animals that are unwanted: Birds and reptiles are unregulated, so the rescue receives a lot of them from private owners.

For some volunteers, those animals at the rescue have been a big part of their lives for years.

Zach Murray, the facilities manager at the rescue, said, "I grew up here, always dealt with the public, always enjoyed educating people, so being able to re-do that? It kind of recaptured the essence of why we started this place in the first place."

But he warns the public to do intense research before they get an exotic animal.

"We fall in love with the idea of owning something that's different or being unique. But you have to ask yourself what kind of quality of life are you providing for that animal and just do your research," Murray said.

The rescue is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To donate to the rescue, go to their website.