HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WTOC) - A wildlife rehab organization says an opossum was beaten with clubs at a Hilton Head Island golf course.
Wildlife Rehab of Greenville shared photos of Scarlett, the opossum, on social media showing her wounds. According to the post, Scarlett was beaten with golf clubs and now has a broken jaw and is blind.
Wendy Watson, the president of the Wildlife Rehab of Greenville, released a statement to WTOC about the incident:
“This is our position— we have reported it to SCDNR and our mission is to rescue orphaned and injured wildlife. It does not include taking matters into our own hands or hiring a lawyer or other things like that. We don’t know the name of the person who did this or their identity. When we arrived on scene, nobody would talk and tell who did it. Our focus is on the care of Scarlett and her well-being.”
An update posted to the rehab organization states that Scarlett is now in the care of a trained rehabber and will face a lengthy recovery period.
Little Scarlett is two pounds and is about 5 months old. She even still has her baby hair and her baby teeth.
“She has scars, but she is still beautiful,” said Emily Norberg, Volunteer, Wildlife Rehab of Greenville.
That’s how this baby opossum got her name. But it all started when the Wildlife Rehab of Greenville got several calls regarding an injured opossum.
“One of the calls was, of course, that there was an attack with a golf club,” said Susan Kilian, Volunteer, Wildlife Rehab of Greenville.
The coastal group of Wildlife Rehab of Greenville here in Beaufort County includes 16-year-old Emily Norberg. She was the first on scene.
“I felt her pain.”
The rescuers say witnesses told them they saw Scarlett being beaten.
“She has blunt force trauma to her eye and to the underneath side of her neck.”
The volunteers say there are no teeth marks and no road rash, which eliminates the possibility that another animal attacked her or that she was hit by a car.
“She’s been through something so terrible. I know if something that caused me to look that way had happened I wouldn’t be letting anyone cuddle me,” said Jillian Gerber, Volunteer, Wildlife Rehab of Greenville.
Other injuries include a broken jaw. She will be blind in at least one eye, if not both.
“She would’ve been minding her own business. She definitely would’ve run from anyone. She does not want confrontation.”
Due to her injuries it’s unclear whether or not she will be released back into the wild but donations have been made in her name to the rehab facility.
“We’re thinking that some of those fabulous donations that have been coming in, in Scarlett’s name, might go to a permanent set up for her.”
The President of the organization, Wendy Watson, says the board decided not to pursue legal action saying that it’s now in the South Carolina DNR’s hands. The SCDNR says they are continuing to investigate and will pursue charges based on the evidence they collect.
The Wildlife Rehab of Greenville will not release the name of the golf course as they don't want to harm any businesses.
The SCDNR says if anyone has information or evidence to bring it to them and you can keep your identity anonymous.