How to Join a Google Hangout

How to Join a Google Hangout

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It seems to be a lot easier to start a Google Hangout than to Join One

 

For my Cat Chat guests, here is what you will need to join me on a Live Google Hangout on Air:

If we haven’t already picked a time, please do so here:  https://www.timetrade.com/book/VQ7N6

You will need a gmail account, a webcam (usually preinstalled on any laptop) or a device, like the Logitech c910 and a good Internet connection.  
 
You will also need a cheap headset; just the two little earbuds and wire that plug into your smart phone or music player are fine.  Your computer, or the c910 will pick up your audio but if you don’t have the headset plugged into the audio jack, the feedback makes the sound unbearable to the audience, even though it will sound fine to you and me.  
 
You won’t be able to see the Google Hangout invitation from me, unless you have Big Cat Rescue in your google circles, so before the show you should create a gmail account, and then go to Big Cat Rescue’s page here:  https://plus.google.com/+bigcatrescue  and Follow us.
 
You should also, in that same drop down menu, put us in a “circle” because at the time of the invite it will say that we have to be in one of your circles, so doing it now will save a step right before the show.
 

The screenshots below will show you what to expect.  

 
A half hour before the show I will send you an email inviting you to join the live hangout.  See the top bolded email that I sent to myself below? Click on the email.
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The email will look like this:

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For your first Hangout you will need to download Hangouts by clicking the blue button that says Download Hangouts:

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Then click Join Hangout after your download has installed.

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You will get a screen that warns you not to show anything that is copyright protected and you will have to click the checkbox and then click Join:

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If you are successful you should see me:

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Nothing makes Cat Chat more vivid than lots of cat pictures, so if you have pictures that you want to share of your cats, please email them to me 2 days before the show so I can get them uploaded to the show page.
 
This is pretty much an hour of you telling people whatever you would like them to know about you, how you started, why you do what you do, what the challenges and rewards are, etc.?
 
I am looking forward to chatting with you!

For the cats,Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
Carole.Baskin@BigCatRescue.org
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
Office 813.920.4130 Cell 813.493.4564 Fax 885.4457Celebrating 20 Years (1992-2012) of Caring for cats ♥ Ending the trade
Rambo

Rambo

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hear big cats

RAMBO

Male Jungle Cat

2/22/99 – 10/13/14

Rescued 12/5/99

 

Rambo the Jungle Cat at Big Cat RescueRambo came to Big Cat Rescue on 12/5/99. He was bred for the pet trade. His owner had sent him to live with her daughter who died unexpectedly and his primary caregiver became the 12 year old grand daughter. She and her relatives agreed that they did not want to see Rambo exploited as part of a hybridization breeding plan for profit and asked if he could come live at Big Cat Rescue.

He is very talkative and loves to carry on conversations with his keepers.

Most Jungle Cats only live 10 to 12 years but Rambo is much older than that already.  He cannot groom himself very well any more and spends most of his time sleeping.  It’s hard to look at him, with his ragged coat and slow gait, but it is a part of life and we don’t hide that from the public.  Rambo still loves to climb to the top of his platform to hold court with his admirers and to watch for the food carts, so we won’t shut him away from public view.

We let our cats tell us when they are ready to pass over the rainbow bridge.  As long as they are eating and enjoying life we will provide supportive care and pain management, but when their bodies begin to shut down, our volunteer vets will ease them to over to the other side.  Our vets, Dr. Liz Wynn and Dr. Justin Boorstein, come out at least twice a week and our cats’ health is documented daily by our volunteers into a google site that sends immediate emails to the vet care staff.

 

 

 

 

More about Rambo the Jungle Cat

Rambo the Jungle Cat.  There is a notorious breeder of servals, jungle cats and hybrids in Okeechobee, FL known as Sue Arnold.  Former volunteers complained that you could smell her urine soaked home and cattery the minute you opened your car door at the street.  Despite her reputation she still breeds and sells more of these smaller cats than anyone else I know of and from all accounts is never willing to refund or take a cat back.  It was 12 years ago, but I am pretty sure that Rambo was born there.

Rambo the Jungle Cat

He was sold to another woman who gave him to her daughter who planned to breed hybrid Chausie cats.  When this breeder / dealer died she had a tiny chain link enclosure on concrete in her back yard with two Jungle Cats and two domestic cats, cordoned off into even tinier cells.  The daughter of the woman who died was only 12 years old and the Internet had only been around for about 3 years when she found us online and called.  She told me that she loved Rambo and Cha Cha and that she was afraid that they would end up back in some awful hybrid breeding scheme.  She asked if we would come rescue Rambo and Cha Cha from such a fate.

Who could turn down such an incredible young woman?  When we arrived catching Cha Cha was no easy feat.  She about wore me out.  I put the carrier in the van and turned to go back to the jail cell they had called home.  If I live to be 100, I don’t think I’ll ever forget what I saw next:

This little girl was clutching Rambo to her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks and she hurriedly carried him down the driveway toward me.  You could just tell that she couldn’t get these cats to safety fast enough.  It made me cry.  I opened the carrier for her to gently put Rambo in, she said her quick good byes and Rambo and Cha Cha were finally on their way to a place where they would never be exploited again.

A few months later the little girl talked her family into driving up from South Florida to see Rambo and Cha Cha.  I was so proud to be able to show her the wonderful life her precious friends had now thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers here.  That little girl is 24 now and I don’t remember her name, but if she were to come visit again, she would be even more happy to know that Rambo has had such a long, happy, healthy life here at Big Cat Rescue.

 

Bearing Witness When It Is Unbearable

Bearing Witness When It Is Unbearable

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I was up most of the night after seeing the image at the bottom of this page, so stop at the big Red Warning label below if you don’t want to see something you can never un-see.  I leave a lot of room after the warning so you won’t accidentally see that awful image, so please read this through and just stop at the huge red letters.

Bobcat rehab is the most rewarding, most challenging and most gut wrenching part of our work at Big Cat Rescue.

The moment a call comes in about a bobcat in distress the tension starts to mount.  Is it really a bobcat?  Can they snap and text a photo?  Is it really in need of our help? Can this caller give me enough information that we can find this cat when we get there?  Do I know a rehabber who is any closer?  Often calls come in from other states where we cannot rehab and release.  I feel my heart begin to race as I try to keep the caller calm enough to give me the details I need to make a life or death decision.

Assured that it is a bobcat, it is in peril and I have a close proximation to his location we launch into action.  The rescue truck, a Toyota Tundra our Facebook fans helped us win, has a permanent set of nets, carrier, blankets, gloves, etc., but depending on the situation we may also need to take the vet.  Despite the fact that animal rescuers frequently break the law and carry controlled drugs across the state and across the country, it’s illegal and we abide by the law.

DrLizWynnDrJustinBoorsteinIf a bobcat may be mobile enough to outrun us then having our vet come along gives us one more asset to bring the bobcat in safely; a dart rifle and sedation drugs.  If you’re reading this, you probably have pets and a vet. Imagine, every few months having to call your vet and ask, “Hey, would you mind dropping everything right this minute and help me go hack my way through the Florida swamps in search of a bobcat that may need to be sedated?”  Our vets will usually move Heaven and Earth to help us, but it isn’t always possible for them to hit the road with only a minute’s notice. Our wonderful vets are Dr. Liz Wynn and Dr. Justin Boorstein and they donate their services to our cats.

The tension only continues to mount as we hit the road because every traffic light, every Sunday driver, every road detour is putting minutes between us being able to save a life or not.  We have to be hyper aware of the speed limit because the last thing we need is to be pulled over and detained for precious moments longer.  Then there is the arrival.

Most of our calls are because a bobcat has been HBC, which is the short hand the vet’s use on their medical records to say, Hit By Car.  That means there is a very real danger that if we come up on the scene wrong we could drive the bobcat right out into traffic again, so we have to strain to assess the situation well in advance of pulling up.  Sometimes the caller is on the scene and we have to be patient as they relay all of the non essential, nervous chatter, that seems to go along with seeing a bobcat up close for the first time, to be able to suss out the important information, such as which way the cat went, how long ago and how fast was he moving?

Even if the cat has been laying motionless on the side of the pavement for the last hour, the minute people start walking toward him, he is going to gather up every bit of courage and energy left inside to escape.  Not once, in more than 30 years of rescuing bobcats, did one of them lay there and say, “Oh good.  You’re here to help.”  Even if they are so badly crushed that they cannot sit up, they can always scream like a woman being murdered while slashing razor sharp teeth and claws at your face.  Whether the bobcat is making a run for cover or laying on their back trying to kill us with their last breath, we have to be cognizant of the fact that our capture technique could kill the cat if we aren’t careful.  They are already suffering and scared out of their minds, so what ever we do next has to weigh the damage we could do to them in their fragile state vs missing an opportunity and losing track of them.

Once we lose sight of them there is only one thing that is certain; they will die a painful and horrific death.  I can’t even talk about all of the bobcats that we either never saw, or saw and then lost.  Hours and sometimes days went into trying to find them but they were better at hiding than we were at finding, and knowing their fate is what drives us on to do it better the next time.

As I think back over any of the bobcat captures, I’m always left believing that angels guided our nets.  Bellona had been one of those bobcats who had laid on the shoulder of the busy highway until we arrived, but the minute we stepped out of the van she ran like nothing you ever saw, swam a creek, ran some more and then tried to swim across a pond, but Chris was able to net her in the water.

Ace the bobcat had been eating out of dumpsters because she could no longer hunt in her aged condition, and had seemed to expire right on the steps to a building, but once our rescue team arrived she ran in and out of hedges and crossing business park roads and parking lots until Jamie nabbed her in a net.

Cypress the bobcat had laid along side the road until just moments before we arrived and then had disappeared into the thick underbrush. Despite her crushed pelvis she managed to drag herself heroically to open water where she must have thought she could out-swim me, but realized too late that she couldn’t tread water with her lifeless lower body pulling her down.  Scooping her up in the net and seeing the look in her eyes when she realized that she was either going to drown or be taken by the dreaded human, is a sight I still cannot put out of my head.

And then Ivan; who appeared to be missing a forepaw and yet managed to run, hobbling, ahead of rescuers who lost sight of him for hours. They didn’t give up, and finally Ivan was scooped up in Dr. Justin’s net at the edge of a canal.  Until now I didn’t realize how often bobcats will try to lose us by diving into water.  Maybe their predators, foxes and coyotes, are typically thrown off the scent this way.  Whatever the reason, we can usually count on being covered in mud by the time the bobcat is safely in a cage and heading to the vet.  We can also count on being covered in scratches because bobcats know every inch of briar patches in their forest and will dive into that thick, thorny cover as a last ditch effort to evade capture.

By the time the bobcat is in the truck we are bleeding, filthy, dehydrated, hungry and both physically and mentally spent, but this was just the first step of what will be a very long and emotional day.

Next we have to find a veterinarian who will tend to this broken bobcat, at what always seems to be the middle of the night, a weekend or a holiday.  We consider ourselves VERY lucky if Dr. Liz Wynn or Dr. Justin Boorstein is available, because most vets are not willing to tend to a wild animal, even though we will pay.  Having to educate an outside vet about the differences in drugs, doses, and reactions in wild bobcats is stressful enough and does nothing to reassure us that the bobcat will be getting the best care possible.  The novelty of having a wild bobcat in the clinic always brings out the entire staff who want to take photos and excitedly ask questions about the animal while we are trying to hurry the process along so that the bobcat’s suffering is minimal.

Bobcat Rescued From Fence

The first time we can really take a relaxed breath is when the cat is sedated.  At that moment we know the suffering has subsided and that is a huge relief, but it is only the beginning of that next phase of concern.  Exotic cats, captive bred or wild born, just don’t deal with anesthesia well.  Sometimes they die from it, so we are taking every breath with them and constantly watching the monitors, counting the heart beats under their fur and expecting that any minute the cat is going to crash and all heck will break loose in an attempt to stabilize them.

Cypress-Bobcat-Xray-broken

Blood work is done to make sure that the bobcat isn’t carrying some deadly disease.  X-rays are taken, and retaken, as the scope of the damage begins to emerge.  Sonograms look at vital organs to see if they have been pierced by the shattered bones or the impact of 2,000 lbs of steel hitting the cat at 60 miles per hour.  A physical exam is done to asses the trauma to the teeth, bones and flesh because skidding across the pavement can do a lot of damage; even to the tough hide of a bobcat.  As the picture of this cat’s condition begins to come into focus, the tension rises again, because now we have to decide:

Can this bobcat be saved?

Can this bobcat ever be set free again?  If not, what kind of life will captivity be for them.  Very young cats may be able to adapt to life in a cage, but bobcats who have known the freedom of patrolling miles of their home territory, are not likely to tolerate life in a cage.  This is one of those impossible moments because a decision has to be made in the next few minutes, but it is a decision that needs far more information than what is usually in front of us.  We need input from the bobcat, but they are asleep and we just won’t know what their tolerance level for follow up treatment, or a life in captivity will be.

Money has never been the issue.  We have spent over $5,000 to get a bobcat the surgeries they need to pin their broken bones back together, but sometimes these poor cats are so shattered that there just isn’t any way to fix them using technology and we are faced with the dilemma of fixing what we can and giving them quiet cage rest while they call on their resources to mend.  Cats of all kinds have a remarkable ability to survive based on the fact that their purr is at the exact frequency that heals bones, muscles, and ligaments. There’s an old saying that’s popular among veterinarians, “If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal.”

So, we usually will opt to have the vets work their magic and then assist the bobcats in working their own.  This is an element of our rehab work that sucks in many more of our staff, volunteers and virtual supporters into a vortex of emotion.  It is a daily, if not hourly, roller coaster ride of the highs when the bobcat eats on their own, drinks on their own or eliminates on their own and the lows when the bobcat seems so unhappy, or refuses their meds, or gets blocked up.  Then we have to make another painful decision:

Was the blockage due to the medications or the bobcat’s poor condition?  Should we go ahead and euthanize or should we flush him out now and see if it happens again?  We usually opt for the latter, but if it happens again, then we pretty much know that this cat is never going to be able to live a normal life and we aren’t going to prolong that suffering.  That’s what happened with Cypress the bobcat.

Cypress-Bobcat-Xray-blocked

The first time she blocked up we thought it was from the fur in her diet of mice, so we flushed her out and put her on a ground diet. We did X-rays and the pelvis just wasn’t healing with enough room for feces to pass. When she blocked up again, we knew that she would never be able to pass food on her own.  Weeks of tense moments, where we watched for every sign of success or failure, ended in a heart breaking decision to euthanize her.

By then we all adored her.  We admired her ferocity.  We loved watching her on webcams because when no one was around she was quite content to watch the Cat Sitter DVD all day in between long, luxurious naps.  We had weeks of building up our hopes that she was going to heal.  We had weeks of hand feeding her to make sure she took her medications.  We had weeks of prayers, and positive visualization of her at least having a comfortable life here at Big Cat Rescue, even if she couldn’t eat whole prey.  We had all of it dashed by the realization that no matter how badly we wanted her to heal, it wasn’t going to happen.

Bobcat-Rehab-Cypress-BluePearl-Jamie_6025

Not even two weeks had passed since we made the tough decision to let her go and the call came in about Ivan.  When a cat passes it is our policy to publish the death immediately on our Intranet site, but with 100 volunteers we know that some don’t check the site but once a week, so we don’t publish the death to our social sites for 7 days.  For those of us who are on the Intranet site daily, it means we have to go through the entire mourning period twice; once when we tell our own volunteers and then again when we tell the world.

It’s not any easier a week later and may even be harder because we can’t grieve and move on.  We have to grieve, wait, expose ourselves to all of the thoughts of second guessing our decisions and then do it all over again next week.  For Jamie and I we have to go through it all again when we write it up for the AdvoCat Ezine and The Big Cat Times.  All of us who work here have to walk past our cemetery several times a day and go through it all over again.  And then the phone rings…

And it is a woman who is watching a bobcat with blood dripping from his paw, she says.  She is an hour and a half away and we are off again. What she saw wasn’t blood.  It was the shreds of dangling muscle from a paw that had been chewed off.  Despite what must have been excruciating pain this bobcat did his best to evade Big Cat Rescuers who were trying to net him and get him to the hospital.  It took hours for Jamie, Dr. Justin, and Interns, Lauren and Philip to catch him.  Once in the cage they could see that the one leg was completely gnawed off. Ivan (named for all the poison ivy they had to crash through) was deep in towels and blankets in the cage and hunkered down, so they couldn’t see anything more, but had some decisions to make on the way to Animal Coalition of Tampa where he could be sedated and treated.

BobcatIvan_2905

A three legged bobcat would not be a likely candidate for release.  The rising and falling swells of emotional current were well under way. We were sad to get the call that a bobcat was hurt.  We were scared that we wouldn’t find him and he would suffer an agonizing death.  We were elated to spot him and yet terrified that he would elude capture.  We were horrified to see that he was missing a leg.  We were hopeful that we could save his life.  We were optimistic that he may adapt to captivity because he was just a kitten.  We were worried about what we might discover once he was sedated and we could get a good look, and then were devastated by what we then saw.

I say, “we” but I was just getting messages by phone and Jamie was keeping me posted.  I was sharing the news, as it came in, with our volunteers and supporters.  When I saw the image at the bottom of the page my heart rose up into my throat. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen and I’m never going to get that image out of my head.  For those of you who can’t bear to look, I’ll tell you, but it’s almost as hard to hear.  They discovered when they pulled Ivan out of the towels and blankets that BOTH of his front legs had been chewed off and he had been running on the dry and brittle bones of his forelimbs.  The only humane thing to do was euthanize him while he was still asleep.

It made me even more sick to know that my daughter, Jamie, had to see it and that our volunteers had to see it.  I am crying at the thought of you seeing it, because it’s the kind of thing you just can’t forget.  It’s that harsh awakening to the perils that animals face and once you have been a witness to such an atrocity then how can you bear it?

Since the bobcat was living near a canal, I thought that maybe he had been the survivor of an alligator attack, when I thought he was missing only one paw.  It really didn’t seem likely because alligators grab their prey and then roll into the water where they have the advantage of drowning their victims.  Any alligator big enough to do this damage would not have been fought off by a bobcat kitten.  Had the alligator just bitten off both front legs, the kitten would surely be writhing on the shore and an easy meal.

The only thing that makes sense, is the senseless act of trapping.

IvanBobcat

It seems clear that the bobcat kitten stepped into a trap and the only way out was to chew off his crushed and bleeding paws.  Dr. Justin said it took several days for the flesh to die back all the way up the legs, leaving the exposed and now brittle bones.  Every step the bobcat took had to have sent jolting pain through out his body.  Add to that misery that he could not hunt and he was starving to death.  I think what haunts me the most is thinking what must have been going through his head.  How could he sleep for even a minute knowing he had no defense against some other animal attacking and devouring him?  How could he look down, at those missing paws, and see the jutting bones and not be reminded every minute of his vulnerability?

In 1974 Florida became the first state to ban leg hold traps, so we don’t see this sort of thing very often, but it happens all the time in the U.S.   I’ve reported this incident to the Florida Wildlife Commission, but in a state where you can buy a permit to kill a bobcat for $25 it is hard to imagine that they will devote any resources to finding the perpetrator.  The only good news here is that there is a law against it in Florida.  If Ivan had just one thing to ask of you, I think it would be to ask that you bear witness for him and speak out for wild cats everywhere by asking your lawmakers for laws to protect them.

You might be astonished to know how many bobcats and lynx are being trapped and killed in the U.S. for the Russian fur trade.  I am not aware of any pending bills regarding the fur industry or trapping, but when such bills do get introduced we will post an easy to send email at CatLaws.com.  Please send one of our current letters to protect exotic cats and sign up to hear from us here:  CatLaws.com

Calling your lawmaker may seem scary, but that’s nothing compared to the horror that Ivan faced.

 

 

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Injured Bobcat Rescued – Euthanized

Injured Bobcat Rescued – Euthanized

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Injured Bobcat Rescued – Euthanized

 

3/22/14 10:57 am a call comes in from someone named Stacie who says she is watching a bobcat, in a ditch across from her house in Northport, FL (1hr 17min away) and he is limping and has blood dripping from his leg. She says her father walked right up to the cat and it didn’t run, so I asked her to text me a photo and it was a bobcat. The cat looked to be in pain, but was sitting in the grass and the photo was blurry, so I didn’t know how bad the injury might be.

We sprang into action and loaded up the Tundra with nets, the squeeze cage, a carrier, first aid kit, blankets, water, Interns (Lauren and Philip) and Jamie and Dr. Justin. Since the cat was able to retreat to the woods, I felt that we may need to dart the cat to save him and we have to have a vet do that because the drugs are a controlled substance. That meant Jamie and Dr. Justin had to give up their day off to go searching for a bobcat, which is usually like seeking a needle in a haystack.

Nearly four and half hours go by, and still no word from Jamie, so I texted her and asked if they had seen the bobcat yet. She texted back the saddest image imaginable; a young bobcat with his front left paw chewed off.

Bobcat-Northport_7120

My first thought was that perhaps the bobcat had been trapped and chewed off his own leg to free himself, but hearing Jamie describe the location where he was found it made me wonder if the bobcat had survived a gator attack.

She said they had beaten the bushes for hours and were just about to give up because the area the bobcat had disappeared into was an over grown canal that went on for miles.

Bobcat-3Legs-Northport-Canals

They circled back around and heard dogs barking and thought that maybe they had flushed the cat out of the woods. Sure enough, as they headed toward all the noise, they found the bobcat in the canal where Dr. Justin was able to net him.

Bobcat-3Legs-Northport-Justin-caught

Now they are on their way to Animal Coalition of Tampa where Dr. Justin will amputate the leg and stabilize the bobcat, if possible.

Bobcat-3Legs-Northport-PhilipJamieLauren

They are thinking the bobcat’s new name should by Ivy if a female and Ivan if a male because of all of the poison ivy they tromped through to save the cat’s life.

Poison Ivy Legs

Warning Graphic Image

Do not scroll down if you are faint of heart because this image is just heart breaking.

When the Rescuers were trying to catch the bobcat, he was running on all four paws, even though it was obvious that one front leg was chewed off.

When he was netted and put in the squeeze cage he was deep in towels and covered with a blanket to keep him from going into shock.

Once the Rescuers arrived at the clinic and were able to sedate him and pull him out, they knew there was nothing they could do but put him out of his misery.

He had obviously been struggling to survive for days, as the bones were completely dried out.

It’s gut wrenching to see an animal in such condition, but he left this world surrounded by angels and more love than many animals ever know.

Bobcat-Both-Legs-Gone

Read about how hundreds of bobcats and lynx are killed in U.S. traps each year for the fur trade.

 

Now at Big Cat Rescue March 22 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue March 22 2014

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West Virginia Bans Private Possession of Wild Animals!

 

Gov. Tomblin has signed a bill into law to prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. Introduced by Del. Randy Swartzmiller (D-1), HB 4393 passed the House by a vote of 72 to 23, and the Senate by a 22 to 11 vote. The bill creates a Dangerous Wild Animal Board, whose members will determine which animals to include under the law. The Humane Society of the United States, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Fund for Animal Welfare praise Gov. Tomblin’s decision.

Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director for The HSUS, issued the following statement: “There’s no good reason for private citizens to keep dangerous wild animals as pets on their property and thankfully that day has come to an end. We are grateful to Governor Tomblin and the legislature for standing firm on this issue, and working to protect animal welfare and public safety. West Virginia now joins the majority of states across the country in taking decisive action on this issue.”

With Gov. Tomblin’s signature, there remain only five states with little to no restrictions on the private possession of dangerous wild animals—Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news_briefs/2014/03/WV-gov-signs-bill-restrict-private-possession-dangerous-wild-animals.html?utm_source=fb_tgpost032114&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=spring14&credit=fb_tgpost032114#.Uy2aTa1dXd0

Ginger the serval

Ginger the Serval

No Animals Harmed

New from visionary director Darren Aronofsky comes “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe. The film is inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice, and hope, and is an exercise in humane filmmaking, as no live animals were used during production.

For the making of this film, Aronofsky — a recipient of The HSUS’s Humane Filmmaker Award — opted to use all computer-generated imagery to create the animals on Noah’s Ark, instead of using captive exotics. As public concern for captive animals grows, The HSUS applauds the filmmakers behind “Noah” for using new technology to tell this legendary story.

Don’t miss your chance to see animal-friendly filmmaking at its best on the big screen. “Noah” opens nationwide in theaters and IMAX screens on March 28. Watch the trailer and get tickets

Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO

Now at Big Cat Rescue March 18 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue March 18 2014

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The REAL Money is in Bequests

 

If you are operating an animal rescue shelter or sanctuary then you know that the real money is in bequests. What is harder to determine is how to receive bequests.

In part it is a numbers game and the more people who know about your wonderful work then the greater the chances that you will be remembered in their wills, but there is a way to maximize your potential for being the beneficiary of an estate:

 

Make a Difference

 

Tigers Shere Khan China Doll - 4

The shelter or sanctuary has probably figured out that the public loves a good rescue story and will line up around the block to donate to a starving cat, or to get an abused lion or tiger out of the circus. In the case of exotic cats there are tens of thousands in need of rescue, and in the case of domestic cats, there are millions who need help.

This creates a “buyers market” for those who want the instant gratification of donating to an organization that will rush in to the aid of the animal. Because there are so many “feel good” opportunities, that donor base can be quite fickle and if you are behaving in a responsible manner and not over crowding or over loading your resources, you will soon find that donors have moved on to someone who will.

In the end though, as a person reflects back over their life, and asks themselves what they did with it, matters come into sharper focus when thrill seeking is no longer the objective. They start to think about the good they have done and how the world will be a better place. They may discover, over time, that the places they funded did finally implode under the weight of taking on too many animals. That leaves them questioning what lasting good they did.

If there are organizations they gave to, who used the money wisely, rescued when they could and said, “no,” when they had to, those are the ones who will be considered further. There may have been several such groups, some animal related and others perhaps human oriented, so the further investigation reveals who did the most with what they had?

Did the non profit cure cancer, end hunger, stop the deaths of animals in shelters, put an end to the use of wild animals in circuses, end the feline fur trade, save wild places for wild animals or stop the exploitation of wild cats in captivity? If not, how successful were they and would this final gift be the boost to get them across that finish line?

That’s what donors want to know in their final hours.

Howard Baskin, CFO of Big Cat Rescue recently reported that, “the estate left to the sanctuary is over $300,000. from a person who had only donated $50. during their lifetime.” This non profit sanctuary in Tampa never courted this donor and the only contact with her was likely to have been a thank you note for her modest donation and a quarterly newsletter called The Big Cat Times. There were others in her will, but none given more than Big Cat Rescue, so it’s clear that she knew her money would be well spent.

What sets Big Cat Rescue apart from most other sanctuaries is that it is the leading sanctuary voice against keeping big cats in cages. Their mission is: Caring for cats – Ending the trade. This donor, and several other very generous donors, have committed in their final hours to being a part of that mission.

That mission makes Big Cat Rescue a target for harassment and smear campaigns by those who abuse big cats for profit or ego, but donors understand that if the bad guys don’t hate you, then you aren’t doing anything important.

Shelters and sanctuaries often shrink from advocacy to end abuse because they fear retaliation from those evil enough to abuse animals or they say they don’t want to be “political” but the real money ends up going to those who are putting themselves on the line to make a difference.

That money makes a difference, and making a difference is what most of us want in the end.