Thursday, January 16, 2014

We are missing Mary.

On Tuesday morning (1-7-14) at approximately 9:00 A.M. our EMU, MARY, was shot and killed in a fenced area of our property. This incident was investigated by Animal Control. A necropsy performed by the State Vet. Lab in Warrenton, determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound. The projectile splintered Mary's femur and bone shards subsequently severed her femoral artery, causing her to bleed to death.

We are offering a $5000 reward to the person(s) who supply us with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who committed this crime. Contact us at or P.O. Box 1357, Orange, VA. 22960. We will keep the name of any informers confidential and also welcome anonymous tips. If you prefer to deal directly with the Sheriff, you may call 540-672-1200 or 540-672-9225 for Animal Control. 


Mary was well loved here at Rikki's Refuge! Here Mary is with Rikki's Refuge director, Kerry Hilliard.

Beau the pig also loved Mary a lot!

In fact, Beau isn't doing very well at the moment. He has been severely depressed since Mary was killed and we had to call the vet. to see him today.

When we get a true idea of how Beau is doing, we will let everyone know! Hopefully, with some time, tenderness, care and good nutrition, Beau will recover from the loss of his best friend. 

There are a few online newspaper articles about Mary:

1.   Reward increased for info on shooting of emu at Rikki’s Refuge

2.   Rikki's Refuge saddened, angered by shooting death of emu 

3.  Emu at Rikki’s Refuge killed by gunfire; reward offered 

There is also a televised news segment about Mary here, from NBC 29 WVIR-TV:

Animal Shelter Offers Reward for Finding Person Who Shot Emu  

There is a very nice article by Megan Drake on as well:

Why Was a Sanctuary Emu Shot Dead?

Mary was a gorgeous bird!

We have set up a “Mary Memorial Fund” on our donation page, please see the drop-down menu (top, middle of the page!). Many of our supporters have expressed a desire to help, and the best way to help us is to help us feed our refuge animals and keep things running here at Rikki’s. You may donate in Mary’s honor, and touch another refuge animal’s life through your help! Thank you!

We are sad and grieving this huge loss to Rikki's Refuge.

We are concerned for our staff, that despite this refuge being fenced and posted, someone could still get it in their head that it's OK to shoot our refuge animals through a fence. This could have been one of our employees or volunteers, as easily as it was Mary.

We worry for the over 1300 animals that reside at Rikki's Refuge, each with their own story, each finding care, shelter, love and a place that should be peaceful.

This is the road that leads to Rikki's Refuge. For many animals, this is the road that leads them to a second chance at life. We want this road to be one that leads to peace and safety. The animals here deserve this!

(Photo by Jenny Graves)

We wish to thank everyone for sharing for Mary, and getting her story out there. We wish to thank all the private donors that offered to help, raising our reward for Mary to $5000. The outpouring of love and support has come from all over the world, and we are grateful and humbled by it. We wish to thank NBC 29 WVIR-TV, and Daily Progress for publishing stories about our Mary. Our thanks to Megan Drake for the well written article on We wish to thank the Orange County Sheriff Department for their dedication to the ongoing investigation of Mary's shooting, and for the assistance of Orange County Animal Control and theState Vet. Lab in Warrenton for their invaluable assistance to us in this very difficult and sad time.

 And this entry shall be closed with one final photo of Mary, and one final plea for help. Please donate in Mary's honor and help us help all our animals at Rikki's Refuge. We can't do this without you!


Jessica Stovall said...

I'm sickened by this. Hope you catch the POS and they are sentenced to jail. Then maybe, we'll get a little justice...

Joanne Whalon said...

I did not know Mary, but the story moved me to tears. Several years ago during a visit to Rikki's, I entered the fenced area where the emus were. As I tried to take a photo of one of the birds, it kept stepping behind me. I learned later that they like earrings! I have a great photo of myself with the emu. We have the same expression on our faces!

Unknown said...

We are profoundly saddened and sickened by the atrocity committed at Rikki's. Mary was an innocent, that wanted only to be loved and share her life peacefully. She was robbed of that life by a cruel coward.
We pray that this person or persons will be captured and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Mary Anne and Richard Burnside

Clinton and Patsy said...

We are so sorry for your loss and we hope Beau will get better. We have always said "people are cowards when they harm creatures that can't fight back". They will pay someday, let us hope they are not sleeping and full of guilt and confess what they did and ask the Lord for forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

This makes me sick inside. Who does this kind of thing??? FOr what……I am hoping beyond hope that this thing is caught and persecuted to the fullest extent. Although am discouraged….Most incidents such as this go unsolved. I just cannot wrap my mind around why any living creature would find glee in committing such an act. I am so saddened by this incident. Please keep us all informed. :-(

FelineCool said...

I'm so sorry for this senseless suffering & cruelty! Please provide a little background info on Mary, such as where she came from, how long she was at Rikki's, how old she was, what was she like... Thanks

Jen Connors said...

I pray that whoever killed Mary is caught and prosecuted. She was obviously deeply loved by humans and animals alike. I plan to make a donation in her memory. God bless you, Mary.

Unknown said...

This is so sad. It brought tears to my eyes. I don't understand how someone can be so cruel. Such is the nature of man. We must animal fight cruelty head on. Kudos to Rikki's refuge for how they are handling this situation. I didn't know Mary, but I will forever remember her. You will be missed Mary. :(

Anonymous said...

It's so devastating. I just can't believe it. I think about it so much and cry. I pray the person is caught.