2011 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report


A year in video below shows how YOU and Big Cat Rescue saved cats and gave them the best lives possible.



Big Cat Rescue is more than just a place that provides permanent care for big cats.  It is a movement;  a change in the tide of human perceptions and is the combined effort of more than 54,000 supporters.  If you are one of them, you are a Big Cat Rescuer and the following is the great work YOU did!  If you haven’t helped yet, you can do so now at the top right of the screen or here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/donate


Big Cat Rescue’s Mission Statement:  Big Cat Rescue’s dual mission is to provide the best home we can for the cats in our care and educate the public about the plight of these majestic animals, both in captivity and in the wild, to end abuse and avoid extinction.


We are Caring for Cats and Ending the Trade




With your help we are winning in the battle for compassion! Up until 2003 the number of requests for rescues we had to turn down due to lack of space or funds had roughly doubled each year, to 312 that year. We feared it would double again to over 500 in 2004. Instead, it has steadily declined since then thanks to the passage of a federal bill and several state bills that restrict the ownership of exotic cats. This year there were only 15 big cats who came to our attention as being abandoned and we were able to take in 10. We offered to take all of the cats who were cougar size or smaller, if their owners would contract to never own another exotic cat, but the rest refused.  We just do not have enough Senior Keeper staff to take on more lions or tigers than the three we took this year.

List of Abandoned Big Cats Thru 2011

List of Abandoned Big Cats Thru 2011


Volgistics became our new time tracking service on Jan 1, 2012 and has replaced our use of Freshbooks.  Everyone seems to like the big buttons and easy check in and check out process.


Animal Care


Nikita Tiger Has Fun With CylinderBy the end of this year, 106 of our 119 animals are over the age of 12 and 89 are over the age of 15. This is well beyond how long they are designed to live in the wild and much older than most zoo cats.  This is a testament to the excellent animal care we provide, but we are dealing with many more age related illnesses and are losing more of our big cat friends every year.


Rescues:  With the help of some very special donors we were able to rescue Amanda, Arthur and Andre; 3 tigers who had been rescued in 2003 from NJ and sent to Wild Animal Orphanage in TX, which collapsed in 2010.  Max the baby bobcat came to us after the RI DNR seized him from an illegal owner.  5 servals, Zoul, Zouletta, Zimba, Santino and Doodles, who had been kept in a NY basement for 14 years were rescued.  Another serval named Kricket was also brought in from VA when her owner could no longer keep her.  We were also able to help with the placement of another serval, a bobcat and did a lot of rehab consultation work via phone and email.


One of those bobcats was Rufus who came in to a Rehabber on Dec 5 weighing 5 lbs, with a broken jaw, split canine and comatose.  They figured he had been hit by a car, but at 5 lbs couldn’t believe that he survived.  After he woke up from the coma he was pretty loopy, but they figured the impact had done brain damage.  They had to wire the jaw shut, tube feed him and removed the broken canine. He is now about 7 lbs, is eating solids on his own and doing much better but appears to be blind.  He was having bad and frequent seizures, but those have almost subsided.  They have asked if we can give him a forever home if his eyesight does not return and we stand ready to help.


On 12/21/11 we had another perfect USDA inspection.




Our website, BigCatRescue.org underwent a painful renovation from a static html site to a WordPress CMS site during 2010 and 2011.  All of the page names had to be changed to fit the new system which meant a huge drop in traffic and initially a huge drop in inbound links, although, by the end of the year we had gained more than a thousand more inbound links than we had before, so it is going to prove a worth while move.  The site was completely down in the Spring and Summer, but has been stable since August 2011 now.


Our website is primarily an educational tool and according to Alexa we are ranked 464,891 worldwide and 128,777 most visited website in the U.S.  We have 1,104 other sites linking to us.


Our web site addresses local and global concerns about environment and has over 8,347 pages of information, movie clips, sounds, safe interactive online games with a conservation theme and photos. From 1/1/2011 until 12/31/2011 the site was visited 338,715 times, resulting in 764,943 page views.  In any given week the visitors will be from more than 200 countries outside of the U.S. as you can see from this breakdown:

United States 279,011, Canada 17,495, Poland 7,679, United Kingdom 7,610, Australia 2,848, India 2,123, Germany 1,578, France 984, and the Philippines 858to name a few.


The information provided has helped wildlife rehabilitators identify animals and obtain proper care instruction, helped officials in smuggling cases to identify rare species of exotic cats being illegally traded and those are just a few of the ways that we know the site has had an impact this year.  For search engine optimization reasons we launched BobcatRehab.com  to make it easier for bobcats in trouble to find us.


We offer about 200 outreach and field trips per year and have committed to offering 12 of them for free each year to lower income schools, but have given 18 such free tours this year and expect that demand will continue to rise with the cost of transportation.  Even when we offer the tours for free, many schools cannot come because they cannot afford the $200.00 fee for their busses.  Our Education Department began writing grant proposals to raise the money needed for the buses.


Big Cat Rescue has been in the press 326 times, in 42+ states including AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, FL, HI, IA, ID, IO, IN, IL, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI & WV and dozens of programs of national or international coverage or in countries other than the U.S.


Award Winning Sanctuary


CharityNavigatorPC Magazine Names Big Cat Rescue in Top 12 Favorite Charities 2011.  Big Cat Rescue, which takes in retired circus lions and tigers, also rescues other big cats from people who tried to keep them as pets, and otherwise offers sanctuary to large cats that are not eligible for release into the wild. It’s focused on educating people about the unsuitability of the animals as pets, working toward passing laws against roadside zoos, and shutting down breeding programs like the exotic pet trade. They also take in injured wild cats and rehabilitate them for release. The group has a video cam set up in the sanctuary, and they regularly post videos of the big cats. The cats eat a massive amount every day, naturally, so Big Cat Rescue relies on donations and paid tour groups to support them.—Arielle Rochette  PC Magazine


2011 Winner in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good  Big Cat Rescue was given a beautiful Toyota Tundra for being the top voted charity during their competition week.


9/2/2011  The Tampa Bay Business Journal awarded Big Cat Rescue in 3 categories:  Best Black Tie Event  Favorite Retreat and Team Building Venue and Second Best Fundraiser


The Tampabay Business Journal selected Big Cat Rescue as a semi-finalist for Non Profit of the Year for 2011.




The steady increase in legislation banning private ownership represents recognition by our society that private ownership leads to massive abuse.  Social values evolve.  It took decades to ban slavery in England and for women to win the right to vote in America.  Those ideas started out as “radical” and were held by a small minority.  Gradually more and more people understood and agreed until they became a part of our value system that we take for granted today.  The same trend is happening with private ownership of exotics.  Gradually more and more people are realizing that this simply leads to widespread abuse of these animals.  The best evidence of this is the accelerating trend in state laws.   Just since 2005 eight more states have passed some level of ban. Sweden, Austria, Costa Rica, India, Finland, Bolivia, Greece, China, the UK and Singapore have all banned or restricted the utilization of big cats in circuses-it’s time for the U.S. & South Africa to do the same!


14,539 new subscribers joined as an AdvoCat to speak out for the cats at CatLaws.com in 2011 bringing our total number of AdvoCats to  54,447 who sent 134,431 letters to lawmakers and decision makers to protect big cats.



Animal Abusers Exposed, Shut Down and / or Fined


Big Cat Rescue enabled several under cover operations to gather evidence of exotic cats being abused, bred without regard for where they may end up, violations of the Animal Welfare Act that pertains to the cruel treatment of big cats and endangering the public.  This information was presented to the authorities along with affidavits and supporting evidence that we hope will bring an end to much of the suffering in the facilities we selected as being the worst abusers.

Inside Edition exposed Joe Schreibvogel of GW Park and the fact that at least 23 tiger cubs died at his facility.

The BBC’s Show called America’s Most Dangerous Pets with  Louis Therous suggested their show should have been named, America’s Most Dangerous Pet Owners.

Animal Planet’s Fatal Attractions interviewed Carole Baskin in Tigers Unleashed about dangerous exotic animal owners including Savage Kingdom’s Robert Baudy and Lost Creek where Haley Hilderbrand was killed by a tiger while posing with the cat for her high school yearbook photo.

Many of the worst breeders, dealers and tiger-tamer-wanabees were finally shut down.  The following is from 2008- 2010.  It appears that USDA did not pursue any of the exotic animal abuse cases in 2011.  Most of these collectors were fined or shut down by USDA or the state, or both in some cases:

CA:  Hesperia Zoo AKA Cinema Safari Zoo owned by Stephanie Taunton was put on probation and fined $30,000 by USDA.

FL: Horseshoe Creek owned by Darryl Atkinson was shut down by USDA and FL.

FL:  Dade City’s Wild Things‘ land owned by Kathy Stearns went into foreclosure and bankruptcy.

FL:  Amazing Exotics was shut down.  It was notorious for allowing contact between large exotic cats and the public for a fee.  The head of their tiger-tamer-wanabee program was Ron Holiday (real name Ron Guay) who gained fame in the HBO movie Cat Dancers and the book by the same name.  His career in dancing with big cats ended when a white tiger he had raised from a cub killed his wife and his lover within a few days of each other in 1998.

FL:  In 2010 Jeff and Barbara Harrod of Vanishing Species lost both their USDA and FWC licenses.

FL:  In 2010 Thomas R. Cronin of the Shell Factory was sanctioned by USDA for improper handling of animals, poor sanitation and lack of vet care.

IN:  Great Cats of Indiana, formerly known as Cougar Valley Farms, Inc., owned by Robert B. Craig and Laura Proper had their license revoked by USDA.

IN:  Ervin’s Jungle Wonders owned by Ervin Hall was shut down by USDA for a three year term.

KS: In 2010 Clint Perkins of Riverside Zoological Park lost his USDA license to exhibit tigers and was fined for violations.

MO:  Wesa-A-Geh-Ya owned by Sandra Smith was shut down after a visitor lost his leg to a tiger.

MS:  Cougar Haven closed its doors for good, sending the last 3 big cats to Big Cat Rescue.

NC:  Metrolino Wildlife Park owned by Steven Macaluso was shut down by USDA.

NE:  Zoo Nebraska was ordered to find appropriate homes for their big cats and bears.

NV:  Victor Northrop, 48, of Henderson, Nevada, who allegedly accepted $10,000 for a rug made out of an endangered tiger after offering the item for sale on Craigslist for $12,500 lost the rug to the government during a confiscation action in July 2011.

OH:  Pearson’s L & L Exotics owned by Lorenzo Pearson was shut down by USDA following six years of violations.

SC:  In 2010 Robert Childress dba Quality Equipment was fined by USDA for lack of care for tigers.

TX:  Zoo Dynamics, owned by Marcus Cook was fined $100,000.00

TX:  In 2010 Jamie Palazzo of Great Cat Adventures had their USDA license suspended for 3 years.

TX:  Wild Animal Orphanage closed their doors in September 2010 after investigation the Attorney General for fraudulent fundraising practices.  363 animals, mostly big cats and primates, are being disbursed to other sanctuaries.  Three of the tigers are coming to Big Cat Rescue.

Australia:  Craig Bush, the “Lion Man” was ousted from the Zion Wildlife Gardens by his mom.


Fundraising and Marketing


We overhauled (OK, Jamie overhauled) our online stores at http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/ and on eBay and greatly increased our sales by doing so.

Final financial numbers will not be available until after our annual audit in the spring, but estimates will be posted here  after we reconcile the credit card statements. We currently operate 300+ social networking sites.


Big Cat Rescue was reported favorably in the news 326 times in 2011 which in a 19% increase over 2010.   Some of the national press included shows on  CNN,  MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery and the History Channel in addition to such publications as USA Today, National Geographic and the New York Post and major media coverage in several other countries as well.


Google awarded Big Cat Rescue a grant of $40,000 per month in free AdWords. People who love animals love to share their photos and stories.  In 2008 Big Cat Rescue unleashed a Chat Big Cats community.   Members can post their own blogs, or join in our forums and contests. It is a YouTube/ MySpace styled community made up entirely of animal lovers. By year end there were 2,847 members and 34,359,740,539  videos, songs, photos and blogs posted to the site.  (blows my mind too!)  Get in on the action free at http://www.chatbigcats.com


Best Viral Video Award

Best Viral Video Award

YouTube.  We ended the year with 35,442 subscribers and 37,492,151 views.   By year end we had 323 videos posted on YouTube and other popular sites like google, Blip, MetaCafe, Revver and others. http://www.youtube.com/bigcatrescue

YouTube Mini Clip Site:  DailyBigCat was launched Nov. 20, 2010 to provide a channel for the mini clips we upload directly from our iPhones.  By year end this site had 2,563 subscribers and 166,724 views.


Our MySpace account now has 7,551 friends. myspace.com/1BigCatRescue We surpassed 54,000 fans on Face Book .  We also enhanced our presence on Care2.org and many other such sites.  We now have 500+ contacts in our LinkedIn presence here:  linkedin.com/in/BigCatRescue Big Cat Rescue now has an Endowment Fund to provide a secure future for the cats. The Fund resides at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.  We initiated a program with Capitol One so that you can choose one of our beautiful cats for your credit card image and 1% of all of your purchases will be donated to Big Cat Rescue at no cost to you.


Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats


Big Cat Rescue funded a $5,000 GPS tracking collar program that will be monitored by researchers with the Snow Leopard Trust. Founded in 1981, the Snow Leopard Trust is the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard. This collar will allow researchers to track a wild snow leopard in order to study its habits and territory needs.


A GPS tracking collar has been placed on one of the cubs of Khashaa, a female and mother snow leopard, within the study area. The cub, a male, is already pretty big at one and a half years old. We find this so exciting because it will help us begin to answer some of the unanswered questions about snow leopards, including information about dispersal patterns.


Big Cat Rescue has been working with WildTracks this year to provide images of our tigers’ paw prints for entry into their computer program which can determine who a cat is by their tracks when there are enough tracks submitted to use for comparison.  Learn more and see photos of the print collection at http://bigcatrescue.org/2011/today-at-big-cat-rescue-sept-22


Big Cat Rescue offered to sponsor the first ever Florida Panther Festival if they agreed not to use any live cats at their exhibits.  They did not take us up on the offer to sponsor the event, but did assure us that they would not exploit cats this way.  Our camera traps have been set in various locations to monitor wildlife populations and poachers in the area.


Helping Others


After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), Patty asked if we would host their first in person 2 day Workshop. Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue, Jeff Kremer presented on donor recognition while giving the group of 20+ attendees a tour, Chris Poole spoke on social marketing and networking, Patty Ragan shared the value of hiring a coach, Kari Bagnall illustrated how to get the most out of a tabling event, Patty Finch taught grant writing, teaching your board how to be helpful and how to avoid “founder’s syndrome” and I shared how we use google Apps, how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers, why it is important to have a plan and stick to it.


Big Cat Rescue later hosted HSUS Sanctuary CEO’s for their annual retreat and gave them an inside look at how we operate.  In both the GFAS and HSUS workshops we shared our Intranet site along with all of our training documents and all of the assets to create a “sanctuary in a box.”  All of these tools are included on our website behind a $1.00 pay wall so that anyone who wishes to improve their facility has access to everything we do.   Big Cat Rescue also helped the Humane Society Legislative Fund in their work to end puppy mills because the same laws would protect cats and kittens from use in kitten mills as well.


Big Cat Rescue provided our CatLaws.com service to Animal Coalition of Tampa in their efforts to send a powerful message to the Hillsborough County Commissioners on two subjects.  1. Was to fund the voucher program for spaying and neutering dogs and cats for low income owners.  2. Was to ban the cruel practice of chaining dogs.


As with every year we supplied Free Passes, Certificates for Feeding Tours and Keeper Tours, and Two For One Passes to many other animal causes to use in their fundraising efforts.  We donate primarily to those organizations that are providing services to cats of all sizes.  We do donate to some human related fundraisers as well, but animal causes make up 3% of all charities and yet compete for less than 1% of all donated dollars.


Then and Now



2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Revenues and Support
Contributions and Grants 619,528 741,961 745,222 1,164,678 1,182,688
Educational Tours and Activities 531,590 566,136 585,764 610,518 732,529
Bequests 133,584
In-kind Donations 34,786 5,830 3,400 10,726 40,669
Special Events 119,332 108,747 89,236 79,316
Rental Income from Operations 9,188 10,376 9,970 10,369 10,784
Investment Income 104,552 111,539 163,124 127,166 102,738
Gift Shop 90,308 97,431 111,209 109,441 136,186
Total Revenues and Support 1,509,284 1,642,020 1,707,925 2,245,798 2,205,594
Program Expense 800,511 848,255 894,238 1,130,303 1,385,590
Management & General 90,521 115,290 127,795 137,577 145,618
Pct of Total Expense 10% 11% 12% 10.09% 8.90%
Fund Raising 35,587 57,484 83,304 95,563 105,291
Pct of Total Expense 4% 6% 8% 7% 6%
Total Pct Mgmt/Gen & Fundraising 14% 17% 19% 17% 15%
Total Expenses 926,619 1,021,029 1,105,337 1,363,443 1,636,499
Change in Net Assets 582,665 620,991 602,588 882,355 569,095
Board Designated Reserve 200,000 200,000 200,000 200,000 200,000
Wall Fund Reserve 236,625 124,312 129,688 157,393 36,577
Endowment at Community Foundation 191,079 238,340 297,068 309,309

IRS 501 c 3 Determination letter


Officers and Members of the Board of Directors in 2011 and meetings:

CEO and Founder  Carole Baskin (not compensated by BCR) President and Chairman of the Board Jamie Veronica (not compensated by BCR for her role as a Director) Secretary & Treasurer Howard Baskin (not compensated by BCR for his role as a Director) VP Director Lisa Shaw (not compensated by BCR) Director Mary Lou Geis (not compensated by BCR) Pamela Rodriguez (not compensated by BCR), Darren Kipnis (not compensated by BCR), Vincent Pavese (not compensated by BCR), and Keith Lawless (not compensated by BCR).  These members met for quarterly board meetings at the sanctuary.  The board met 5 times in 2011.


Paid Staff:

Operations Manager & Volunteer Coordinator Gale Ingham Staff Manager, Editor & Creative Director Jamie Veronica Gift Shop & Guest Services  Honey Wayton Intern Recruiter & Data Management Chelsea Feeny Education Director Dr. Beth Kamhi and her assistant Willow Hecht Vernon Stairs Cage Builder and Maintenance Scott Haller Cage Building Apprentice and Maintenance Videographer and Social Networking Chris Poole Director of Donor Appreciation  Jeff Kremer Assistant to Operations Manager and Staff Relief Person Jennifer Flatt, CFO Howard Baskin, PR Susan Bass and  LaWanna Mitchell is an independent contractor who works remotely on web issues. All of our animal care is done by volunteers or by staff who also volunteer time before & after work.



Big Cat Rescue had 96 volunteers at the end of 2011 who clocked in 37556.09 man-power hours in addition to staff, 25 interns (12,700 hours) and Volunteer Committee member hours. Our interns came from 9 states and 6 countries. Volunteers and interns provided roughly the equivalent workforce of 24 more full time staff.


Staff and Volunteer Training

We want to say a special thank you to all of our staff & volunteers who have just completed their 10th year of service to the cats.


Get our Financial Reports:  Click here for IRS 990 and audited financial statement for Big Cat Rescue.

Cougar Puma or Mountain Lion Attacks Are Likely Discarded Pets

Cougar Puma or Mountain Lion Attacks Are Likely Discarded Pets

Cougar Puma or Mountain Lion Attacks Are Likely Discarded Pets

Cougar Puma or Mountain Lion Attacks Are Likely Discarded Pets



“I don’t think that attack was by a wild-reared puma at all.


I think that puma was a dumped former pet, or a puma bred from a mother kept to produce urine to be sold as “puma lure” to be sold to houndsmen, or perhaps even a puma who was “returned to the wild” by a financially struggling sanctuary, of which there have been many in Texas in recent years.


First, take another look at what was reported, to refresh your memory:”




Mountain Lion Attacks Boy in Texas Park



A 6-year-old boy is recovering after a mountain lion “clamped” on to his face at Big Bend National Park in Texas.


Jason Hobbs said his family’s vacation became a nightmare when the big cat attacked his son Rivers on a sidewalk Sunday near the Chisos Mountain Lodge.


“It had a hold of his face…the cat was clamped on his face,” Hobbs told West Texas TV station CBS 7.


The Austin dad said the mountain lion didn’t let go until he stabbed it with his pocketknife.


Rivers Hobbs told CBS 7 the mountain lion “snuck up on me.”


Despite being shown on TV with fresh stiches across his gashed face, Rivers claimed he never shed a tear before or after the encounter.


Asked about his injuries, Rivers said they did not hurt “that bad.”


Big Ben spokesman David Elkowitz described the mountain lion that attacked the 6-year-old as a “young lion in very poor condition,” The Associated Press reported.



Posted: 02/07/2012 4:17 PM http://m.nbcmiami.com/nbcmiami/pm_108795/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=RULoyvKb


Why This Was Probably Not a Wild Puma


Assuming that every word reported is entirely accurate, and I see no reason to suspect otherwise, what’s wrong with this picture?


First sentence: instead of tearing the victim’s throat out, the puma clamped onto the child’s face. This is a puma who does not have the faintest idea how to effect a kill.


Second sentence: the puma attacked on a sidewalk near a lodge — clearly within human habitation, not a place where a puma would normally hunt or even find prey.


Fourth sentence: a man with just one jackknife was able to fend off a puma, who in effect has five jackknives on each paw, plus teeth. This is a puma who not only does not know how to hunt, but does not know how to fight.


Most pumas learn how to fight as kittens. As adults, the leading killers of pumas, other than human hunters, are other pumas. Pumas tolerate pumas of opposite gender in their habitat only during mating season. Otherwise, puma meeting puma in the wild often results in a fight to the death. A young male puma who does not know how to fight is unlikely to survive for any length of time at all, especially in an area containing as many pumas as Big Bend National Park.


Last sentence: we are talking about a “young lion in very poor condition.” That can happen, if a mother abandons her last year’s offspring & goes off to mate again before the cub has learned to hunt and fight. But that leaves open the question of what the mother and cub were doing throughout the preceding summer, fall, and winter. Truly wild pumas learn to hunt. Young male pumas who are the offspring of pumas raised in connection with urine collection don’t — but they are dumped, while their sisters are kept to produce more urine in captivity.


Hardly anyone recognizes this, but there are two major “wild” puma populations in North America. One is the fully wild population. They rarely get into trouble with people, and when they do, it is in quite remote habitat.


Truly wild pumas have a very stereotyped and distinctive method of killing: virtually always from above, behind, at dawn; less often, at dusk. They break the victim’s neck immediately, at first pounce. That’s because they are usually hunting deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, and other animals (sheep, wild horses, wild burros, occasionally cattle) who most often outweigh them and/or can outrun them. If they don’t kill almost instantly, the victim either gets away or may kill/cripple the puma.


Of recent human victims (within the past 20 years), Barbara Schoner of California, Scott Lancaster of Colorado, and Irene Davis of California were all clearly victims of authentic wild pumas. They all were in known puma habitat alone, at dawn, and passed under ledges where they were pounced. It isn’t likely that any of them ever knew what hit them.


The other puma population is the really dangerous one. It consists of pumas who were either bred in captivity or captured as kittens, held until they got too big to handle, and then were dumped by the same class of folks who dump pit bulls, unneutered housecats, etc.


There are thousands of pumas in private captivity around the U.S., every sanctuary that accepts them has a long waiting list for space, and a lot of the people who have them are not exactly good citizens. Before the pit bull vogue, pumas were popular, among drug dealers, bike gang members, militia folks, and people who home-brew “lure” for hunting packs, as described above.


There are far fewer pumas in private hands now than there were before the passage of the 2003 Captive Wildlife Safety Act cut off legal interstate sales, but private possession is still a problem — probably more so in Texas than anywhere else.


When captive pumas are dumped or just escape, they don’t know how to hunt. They come up on people’s porches and knock on the glass like tabbies, hoping to be fed. They ineptly pounce little kids on their swing-sets, who live to tell the tale. They play with balls in back yards. They walk in open doors and flop down on the couch. They eat dogs and cats in yards. They walk down busy streets in broad daylight. They don’t know whether they are coming or going, and in the 33 years that I have tracked puma incidents, they have accounted for about two-thirds of all the puma incidents that make news.


Sometimes probable former captive pumas kill a person–like Cindy Parolin, in British Columbia in 1996. That was an extremely sad and tragic case. Someone apparently dumped a whole puma family. The two kittens were shot. The male, on the verge of starving to death, killed Parolin in one of the most inept attacks on record. What became of the female is anyone’s guess. She may have been kept for urine.


The male, by the way, was starving right in the midst of abundant rabbits and deer. He just didn’t know how to catch them. Instead, he tried to pull the riding boot off of Parolin’s six-year-old son, as the family rode past on horseback. Parolin leaped from the saddle on top of the puma, trying to save the boy, and suffered injuries from which she eventually bled to death, while the hungry puma, having ceased the attack, just sat down beside her. That’s where he was shot, an hour later. The puma did not even try to eat Parolin: he didn’t know she might be food. The boy’s riding boot, however, apparently smelled to the puma like food from a bag.


People coming face-to-face with such a screwed-up puma usually have little choice but to shoot the critter, if they can, because the puma can in fact kill them, or their children, and recapturing a puma isn ot particularly easy even with tranquilizer guns and nets.


People often make a big mistake, however, in blaming the abundance of screwed-up ex-captives around big cities, and in national parks etc. where they get dumped, on an alleged overpopulation of genuinely wild pumas who have purportedly “lost their fear” of people. It’s the ex-captives who have lost their fear. And they’re the ones I really worry about.


This is not the first such incident in Big Bend National Park. In 1998 a puma approached a mother and three children in Big Bend National Park in an incident very similar to the one this week. Everything about the 1998 puma’s behavior, as described by media accounts, said “big kitty approaching people looking for a handout.”


Then the mother pulled a jackknife on the puma and rushed him. He scooted–just like a housecat being shooed from a counter.


Apart from the absurdity of a genuinely wild puma being afraid of a jackknife, especially since he had no way of knowing what it was, it bears mention that this guy had the advantage of being above and behind when he first approached, but gave up his opportunity to make a stealthy kill in favor of coming down to sniff the group.


I don’t blame the mother. Like Cindy Parolin, she did what any good mother will, defending her young. Then she of course told the story as she saw it and remembered it. I do blame some people who amplified the case without looking further into why the puma behaved as he did, and the real reason why the mother and children survived without injury.


I can also recall a couple of recent campground puma cases, where there were several pumas in each instance, apparently hanging out together–like a litter of kittens, only they were no longer kittens.


In each case, that’s probably where someone pushed them out of the back of a van. Wild pumas just don’t behave like that, and certainly wouldn’t be hanging around a park latrine for days on end, as occurred in one case


The attraction of the park latrine was most likely that it smelled like the spare bathroom where the litter probably spent their younger days.


What annoys me is that I suspect some houndsmen may dump “surplus” tom kittens whose mothers & sisters are kept for urine,  & then get paid to go track & shoot the very pumas they dumped.  And then they will cite these cases as part of their argument for keeping hounding legal,  or re-legalizing it in the states (like Washington) where it has been banned.


Cougar Yawns

Cougar Yawns


Merritt Clifton


P.O. Box 960

Clinton, WA 98236


Telephone: 360-579-2505

Cell: 360-969-0450

Fax: 360-579-2575

E-mail: anmlpepl@whidbey.com

Web: www.animalpeoplenews.org


Carole’s Note:  This was reprinted with permission because Mr. Clifton is the first person that I have heard clearly argue the obvious.  We had been reporting that we thought that most of the attacks attributed to wild cougars, mountain lions or pumas (all the same) were really released pets and devoted a page of our website to it in 2006 called Why So Many Cougar Attacks and Sightings?  Merritt Clifton just said it a lot better than I did and with his typical sense of irony.  What I had not considered before, and was eye opening to me, was the notion that the females may be used for producing urine for “hunters” to lure male cougars into shooting range.  As awful as most captive cougar pet situations are, I can only shudder at the conditions that must exist for these poor creatures as Clifton describes the way they are housed as follows:


Foxes and bobcats kept for urine collection are often kept on wire floors,  but pumas could tear right through wire.

Pumas kept for urine collection are usually kept in concrete-floored structures the size of dog pound run,  with chain link sides and top.  The floors are tiled just enough for the urine to run off into gutters that drain out to collection points a safe distance from the cages.  The usual routine is to collect the piss first,  then hose out the excrement.


Help end the suffering by visiting CatLaws.com and ask for laws that prohibit the keeping of wild animals in cages.



Send Talking Pet Cards Using Your Pet


LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPT. 6, 2011 – Throughout the ages pet owners have mused at what their beloved pets might say if they could speak.  Thanks to an emerging web-based greeting card company officially launching today, Pet-a-Greeting is putting the power of animated speech into pet owners’ hands.  The site allows members to create personalized greetings that feature their talking pet and then distribute them via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Pet-a-Greeting is the first-ever site that allows members to upload a photo of their dog, cat or other pet, or use the library of pet photos, and create a customized talking message to share.
“We’re taking the e-greeting card experience to a whole other level,” said Gregory Baker, co-founder of Pet-a-Greeting.  “We developed Pet-a-Greeting because we love our animal friends and we want people to be able to share a unique experience with their friends and families, while giving a voice to those that typically don’t have one.”
Pet-a-Greeting offers a 10-day free trial, where members can send unlimited personal greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or just for fun.  Pet-a-Greeting is an affordable, easy way to spread some love and include your pet as you share life’s joys with friends and family.
Sending a Pet-a-Greeting is a simple process.  Visit http://pet-a-greeting.com and sign-up today.  Once registered, you can:
–          Upload a photo of your pet, or use the library of pet photos, and type a personalized message
–          Move and adjust the mouth to make it perfect for your pet and message
–          Choose from a variety of distinct voices or use Type and Talk to create your own personalized voice message
–          Share your greeting card via email, Facebook or Twitter
Annual Pet-a-Greeting membership to send unlimited cards is $9.95, and a two-year membership is $14.95.  Pet-a-Greeting has a strong commitment to helping the community through their generous support of animal welfare organizations both locally and nationally.  By becoming a member and sending Pet-a-Greetings, you are supporting the welfare of companion animals.
“I finally get to share all my joy and excitement with the world through Pet-a-Greeting,” said Gracie, the official spokespet for Pet-a-Greeting.  “I’m always travelling, going to the dog park and hanging out with my family, and I love to let everyone know what I’m up to by sending Pet-a-Greetings.”
For more information and/or to become a Pet-a-Greeting member, visit http://pet-a-greeting.com.  Be sure to also check out Pet-a-Greeting on Facebook and Twitter.

Fundraiser for Domestic Cat on Jan 13 2012

Dear Friend of ABC,
We’re hoping you can join us for refreshments at this fundraiser. If you can’t join us, please consider making a donation for Bruno on Tampa Cat Crusaders website. Please get this information out to as many people as possible.  The goal is to raise $1500.00 to cover the last surgery performed on 1/3/12, and we need all the help we can get.  Thank you for all you do!!!!
ABC Volunteers and Tampa Cat Crusaders


Animal Based Charities Thrift Store
4340 S. Manhattan Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33611
Friday, January 13, 2012
Bruno, pictured above, was discovered living in a makeshift colony of unaltered cats in Temple Terrace. He was immediately noticed by a kind volunteer because he was incredibly skinny and was walking with a very bad limp. At his first trip to the vet, it was learned that Bruno’s leg was shattered in multiple places and being that he had been left to fend for himself, his leg had been like that for some time and was beyond repair so had to be amputated.   Poor Bruno was so weak, he suffered multiple set-backs from the surgery and had a much longer recovery time. The great news was that he was in the home of the kind volunteer getting good quality food and slowly gaining weight. She paid his vet bills herself.

Less than a year ago, our 3-legged friend Bruno started having urinary problems and after being on meds, and back and forth with the vets, it was discovered that he wasblocked and had his first catherization, which might have poked a hole in his urethra. Within 2 weeks, he was blocked again and had to have emergency Perineal Urethrostomy surgery. That is emergency surgery on his penis, which no one, man or animal would ever want to go through. The surgery worked for a while, and again, the kind volunteer paid for his expenses herself, but it seems it wasn’t done correctly, and last weekend, Bruno was blocked again.

After two consults, Bruno underwent his second emergency Perineal Urethrostomy surgery to repair the damage that was done. In other words, the hero of this story has just had his second urological surgery to save his life. The vet bills are staggering, the last surgery alone was $1500 and that was at a deep discount for Cat Crusaders.

Please join us at our fundraiser to help offset the vet bills as Bruno is truly the unluckiest Lucky cat we know, and hopefully will live a healthy surgery-free life.
Look what a little love and kindness can do!
Tiger and Leopard Parts Seized in Operation Cyberwild

Tiger and Leopard Parts Seized in Operation Cyberwild

Operation Cyberwild Leads to Dozen Criminal Cases

Alleging Illegal Sale of Endangered Species through Internet Sites


Leopard Coat Illegally For Sale Online

LOS ANGELES – Federal and state authorities have filed criminal cases against a dozen people who allegedly used Internet sites to illegally sell endangered species and other wildlife protected by federal and state law, including fish, birds and exotic animal pelts.


The charges are the result of Operation Cyberwild, a task force investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), which received substantial assistance from volunteers with the Humane Society of United States.


Operation Cyberwild was announced this morning following the arrest of a Las Vegas man who is charged with selling boots made out of threatened sea turtles.


During Operation Cyberwild, federal agents and state game wardens recovered live endangered fish, protected migratory birds, an elephant foot, and pelts from a tiger, a polar bear, a leopard and a bear.


During the investigation, which began in July 2011, special agents with FWS and game wardens with CDFG focused on Internet advertisements placed by sellers in Southern California and Southern Nevada. As a result of Operation Cyberwild, the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles filed charges against nine defendants, and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged three defendants.


“We made our first undercover purchase within 24 hours of beginning the operation,” said Erin Dean, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Torrance. “We hope that this operation will send a message to individuals selling – or even considering selling – protected wildlife that we are watching and that we take these offenses seriously.”


The 12 defendants charged in federal and state court each allegedly offered for sale animals or animal parts. The defendants are variously charged with violating the federal Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Lacey Act and various state wildlife laws.


“Our ecosystem is complex and precious. Unfortunately, this delicate system continues to face serious threats, including poaching, the introduction of non-native species and the illegal sale of endangered species,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr.


“The sale of endangered animals on the Internet has reached an alarming level, with as much as two-thirds of such sales taking place in the United States.

These Internet sales of wildlife fuel poaching and make the killing of protected animals more profitable.

Today’s prosecutions are a response to this alarming trend.”


The United States Attorney’s Office yesterday filed nine cases in United States District Court in Los Angeles. The defendants charged in federal court are:


George Lovell, 49, of Las Vegas, who allegedly sold a pair of Loggerhead sea turtle leather boots for $1,000 after offering them for sale on Craigslist. Lovell was arrested this morning and is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in federal court in Las Vegas. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333526296/48adf5cce36d954171041dfc6e010c76


Tiger Rug Sold Illegally Online


Lisa Naumu, 49, of San Diego, who allegedly sold an $8,000 leopard skin coat after placing an ad on Craigslist that offered three of such coats for sale. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333529658/d8d2d7c97326074949cfe78539fe6ae0


Victor Northrop, 48, of Henderson, Nevada, who allegedly accepted $10,000 for a rug made out of an endangered tiger after offering the item for sale on Craigslist for $12,500. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333530688/c7655959c9831be06dff34fa117cb77f


Karla Trejo, 42, of Sherman Oaks, who is charged with selling a live Western Scrub-Jay for $185 after posting an ad on Craigslist. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333533522/8b2709a3a23fd5440aaab20a81ded004


Dan Tram “Majkah” Huynh, 30, of San Diego, who allegedly sold an Asian arowana to an undercover agent for $2,500 after offering the fish for sale on Craigslist. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333525190/b6731e5a328b6c1afc248f54a565b368


Henry Dao, 41, of Garden Grove, who allegedly sold two live Red-whiskered Bulbul birds for $1,750 after offering the injurious species for sale on a website used to trade and sell “softbills.” See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333507986/84a034163036dc12f674552a3c37efc0


Alex Madar, 27, of San Diego, who allegedly sold sea turtle leather shoes for $250 after posting the items for sale on Craigslist. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333528938/9f6bc0aa33f1a687346285a500cc39b7


Kamipeli Piuleini, 35, of Torrance, who allegedly sold a Hawksbill sea turtle shell that had been listed on eBay. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333532582/0bd46ea58d0011bc58e50f809de14600


Tyler Homesley, 24, of Ramona, who allegedly offered to sell three birds –including two protected migratory birds, a Eurasian kestrel and a Black-shouldered Kite – for $150 after placing an online advertisement (plus a $25 delivery fee for total price of $175). See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333524008/93600bc1dab12beecc4ab2f21c52f11e


All of the federal cases allege misdemeanor violations that carry maximum statutory penalties of either one year or six months in federal prison.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office last month filed three cases.


The defendants charged in state court each face two misdemeanor charges. They are:


Alfredo Vazquez, 50, of Montebello, who allegedly sold to undercover operatives an elephant’s foot, a mounted hawk and a mounted owl See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333535734/ebcec721301b145df1969d218f79d23c


James I. Colburn, 66, of Leona Valley, who allegedly sold a bear skin rug. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333506432/9af834ec1f372246dbeac68f58586953


Blake William Diekman, 27, of South Pasadena, who allegedly sold a live piranha. See: https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1333522700/d31c06f49123c52e48681929b5e02116


Criminal charges contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.


Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


The Operation Cyberwild task force was assisted by five volunteers from the Humane Society of United States, who searched the Internet for suspicious items and referred the listings to investigators.



CONTACTS: Assistant United States Attorney Rupa S. Goswami

Environmental Crimes Section

(213) 894-5486

Assistant United States Attorney Amanda M. Bettinelli

Environmental Crimes Section

(213) 894-0470

Deputy District Attorney Dan Wright

Environmental Crimes Section

(213) 580-3209

Fish and Game Warden Patrick Foy

California Department of Fish and Game

(916) 651-2084

Release No. 12-003
January 6, 2012

André Birotte Jr.

United States Attorney

Central District of California

Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer

(213) 894-6947




Despite this undercover operation, the trade in tiger bones and skins is still active on eBay as of April 2012.