The Owensboro family runs an animal rehabilitation center

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) – An Owensboro family has spent the past 12 years helping orphaned or injured animals before releasing them into the wild, but some people think they should just leave the animals alone.

Something wild is happening at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro. It’s all thanks to the Allen family, who run the town’s Nurture to Nature wildlife rehabilitation center.

The Allens’ love of animals has given them a unique reputation in town.

“People come up to me every day and say, ‘What new animals did you work with today?'” said Grant Allen, who started Nurture to Nature with his parents.

12 years ago, the family started the Nurture to Nature Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Their goal is to help orphaned or injured animals regain their health and then return to the wild, and the family says they have helped thousands of people so far.

They keep some of the animals at Yellow Creek Park, while the rest live in their home.

“We don’t live in a traditional household,” family matriarch Kristin Allen said.

Here you will find a wide variety of animals native to the region. They say some family members have even complained at times that their home is more cages than furniture.

The family tell 14 News that some people are critical of what they do, saying nature is cruel and they should just let it take its course. The Allens disagree.

“Nature is not the only factor here, humans are. It’s like animals getting hit by cars, it’s not that animal’s fault if they get hit by a car,” Kristin said. “There’s a constant conflict between the human race and the animals, and we’re just trying to balance it.”

For example, on Friday morning, one of the Allens saw a possum on the side of the road that had been hit by a car and killed. She stopped to check the opossum’s pouch and, sure enough, found two baby opossums alive and healthy.

They say it’s hard not to get attached to animals, but it’s better to send them away when they’re ready.

“It’s a little teary sometimes, you know, just to see them go, but it’s always rewarding, always,” RaKara Allen said.

This was the case with a Red-tailed Hawk on Friday morning, which returned to the wild after a brief stay with the Allens.

For those who would like to learn more about the Nurture to Nature Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, or even see how to donate, Click here.

Benjamin M. Yerger