This photo was from circa 2009 when Precious could get up in her tree. She’s had a stroke, at the age of 21, but has been working hard to get back on her feet and managed to do so recently. The photo below is Levi bobcat during a recent vet check up.
Food Prep Photos
The building was built by friends of Big Cat Rescue in 2003-2004 for $40,000. The lion’s share of the money raised to build it came from Jamie Veronica’s college fund, supplied by Jacqueline Norris, her great grandmother. Jacqueline was known to her grand children as Momma Jacquie, and thus the sign out front that says, Mamma Jacquie’s Cool Cat Cafe – Food Prep Center.
At the far left is the “rat room” and laundromat for the Cat Hospital next door. Live rats are raised there for the rehab bobcats. This area is screened for fresh air and is also where the hot water tank and water purification system is housed.
We later added on a metal roofed carport for golf cars, our beast wagon and our van.
The right end of the building is a carport styled “roof over” for the two walk in freezers. The small freezer is for whole prey and frozen treats for the cats. The larger freezer can hold 17,000 lbs of food and contains the ground diet, beef and chicken. Having these freezers under the roof will extend their lives.
The back of the freezers shows that the compressors are kept under the roof as well to protect them and the whole area around the freezers has hurricane panels cut for quick installation in the event of an emergency.
Behind Food Prep is a propane storage system and generator, donated by the Body Shop, to run Food Prep in the event of a loss of power.
Inside the main section of Food Prep is the computer where volunteers and staff log in and out for the day. It is also where another computer is set up for them to log their observations from feeding and cleaning the cats into the Intranet site for Big Cat Rescue. These entries send emails to the CEO, President, Operations Manager, Maintenance Team and Vet, with the full report of feces found, food left behind and any maintenance or veterinary issue that is observed.
Feeding supplies, such as paper plates, rubber gloves, paper towels etc. are on the top shelves in the back ground and cleaning supplies are on the bottom, so that there is no chance of something spilling and contaminating the food delivery products. At the left you can see stainless steel sinks and cutting boards where the food is chopped.
Behind the shelves is a huge walk in cooler that is the full width of the building. In the photo you can see an Intern carrying a box of frozen meat into the cooler where it will defrost for the following day.
Inside the walk in cooler are racks on the left for thawing whole prey and wrapped items and on the right is a stainless steel morgue table for draining the blood off the meat which is captured in buckets below. The walls are clad in an easy to clean water proof sheeting like you would see in a shower stall. A lot of our cats are on special diets due to old age and health issues, so the buckets on the rack in the back right of the photo are for creating those diets before the feed wagons leave the Food Prep area.
Special lights are needed inside freezers and coolers and are very expensive.
The stainless steel sinks wrap around three sides of the room. There is a lot of natural light in the room from windows and there are overhead lights as well. The floors are all tile and mopped down daily after feeding.
On the left is a cabinet for feed and bedding for the rats and stainless steel rat cages on the right. The washer, dryer, hot water tank and purification system are behind the rat cages. In order to keep vermin from entering this area, the screens are covered with a 1/4 wire mesh on a frame mounted to the outside of the room over the screened windows.
When another sanctuary asked for details about our nutrition center or food prep area, I figured I’d just post it here for anyone who is interested.
From our friends at HSUS:
California Restricts Bobcat Hunting and Bans Lead Shot
Today is an important day for wildlife protection in California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed two pieces of legislation today thanks in no small part to all the hard work The HSUS and our supporters have put in to protecting California’s wildlife and people.
Gov. Brown’s signing of AB 711 means hunters in California will be required to use non-lead ammunition to stop the incidental poisoning of dozens of species, and stop these bullets from killing long after they have left the chamber. His signature on AB 1213 will add a no-trapping buffer zone for bobcats around Joshua Tree National Park and stop commercial trappers from catching and killing bobcats on private property without the consent of the property owner.
Our California State Director Jennifer Fearing says, “California has led the nation in creating humane laws, and today’s pair of actions by Governor Brown is an incredible victory for wildlife and humans alike.” Read more on my blog»
Thank you for all you do for California’s animals.
Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States
Louisiana Supreme Court Allows Victory for Tiger to Stand
Last Friday, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeal in the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) ongoing case to protect Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger confined at Grosse Tete, Louisiana’s Tiger Truck Stop by Michael Sandlin. In 2011, ALDF sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep and exhibit Tony. With pro bono assistance from Baker Donelson, ALDF was joined in the suit by several Louisiana taxpayers, including Warren Triche, the state representative who authored the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of tigers. In April of this year, the Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop are ineligible for a big cat permit and can no longer keep Tony. Sandlin sought review of that decision, but last Friday the state Supreme Court declined to take the case. Although Sandlin could appeal further to the U.S. Supreme Court, the lawsuit raises no issues of federal law, so the Court could not grant review.
Back in 2009 Big Cat Rescue had been asked by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife to come rescue Tony as they were confiscating him and felt that the Tampa based sanctuary would be an excellent home for him. Sandlin obtained an emergency injunction to prevent Tony from being rescued, so Big Cat Rescue became the first organization in the U.S. to hire an attorney to represent a tiger. Sandlin was able to thwart a number of attempts through the good ol boy network in Iberville Parish, but the Animal Legal Defense Fund took over and just wouldn’t give up.
Meanwhile, on October 5, an employee at G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma was attacked by an adult male tiger and almost lost her arm. Michael Sandlin has declared his intention to send Tony to G.W. Exotic if forced to relinquish him. The controversial zoo has been the subject of undercover investigations and houses more than 200 dangerous exotic animals that it breeds and uses for public interaction. ALDF is asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to investigate the horrific attack at G.W. Exotic. Given the animal welfare and public safety failings at G.W. Exotic, ALDF is calling on LDWF to ensure that Tony is transferred to a legitimate and reputable sanctuary. Sending Tony to G.W. Exotic would violate both Louisiana and Oklahoma state laws.
Still ongoing is Sandlin’s own lawsuit, alleging that the Louisiana state ban on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals is unconstitutional.
“We are relieved to see this case reach its end,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Nearly three years after we asked the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to issue a permit to the Tiger Truck Stop, the highest court in the state has declined to prolong this case further. We call upon the Department to do the right thing and send Tony to a reputable sanctuary, before we face another tiger tragedy.”
Copies of the lawsuit and photographs of Tony at the Tiger Truck Stop are available upon request.
The Humane Society Speaks Out Against Cubs and Props
Wild Animals Are Not Stuffed Toys
Across the country, the public can pet, feed, pose, and play with tiger, bear, and lion cubs, as well as other wild animals for a fee. These baby animals are bred and used for just a few months for photo ops and play time, and then discarded. This vicious cycle fuels the exotic pet trade, puts animals at risk, endangers the public, and creates a burden for both law enforcement and nonprofit sanctuaries when these cast-off cubs become adults and are too large and unpredictable to handle.
In response to a legal petition from The HSUS and other animal protection and conservation organizations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting comments on whether to prohibit public handling of dangerous wild animals.
USDA has changed the Animal Welfare Act regulations by revising its definition of retail pet store in order to keep pace with the modern marketplace and to ensure that animals sold via the Internet or other non-traditional methods receive humane care and treatment.
In an effort to provide all pertinent information in one location, USDA Animal Care has created a special web page. On this page, we will post all related materials and updates. We encourage you to please visit the page and read through the posted materials in order to: 1) gain a better understanding of this regulation change; 2) learn the reasons that prompted the change; and 3) see if you need a USDA license or if you are exempt from licensing.
Hardly a week goes by now that there isn’t a case in the news of a big cat facility that was once considered a haven for the animals rescued has found itself over run with animals that there are no funds to provide for.
People love a good rescue story and they want to be involved. They will volunteer or donate to facilities that are in the public eye doing the heart pounding rescues because it makes them feel good about themselves. They are instantly gratified with the rescue of the animal from some deplorable condition and for a few weeks they thrill in seeing the animal rebound in health and personality until the rescued one appears to be safely set for life…then they are off looking for the next thrilling rescue.
Sometimes sanctuary founders are this short sighted themselves and they continue to take on more animals than they can afford because they believe that recognition is right around the corner and surely some big donor is just about to discover them. Sort of like the starry eyed actress that lives hand to mouth until she has lost her good looks and ability to land a meaningful job, while hoping to be discovered by Hollywood. They usually mean well but just aren’t in touch with reality.
Often a person with the chutzpah to start a sanctuary may be cognizant of how unlikely this is, but they may depend on volunteers and donations to keep their dream alive and they know that if they aren’t rescuing the “animal in distress of the week” then they will lose their volunteers and donors to someone who is acting so irresponsibly.
One thing you can always count on is that the unexpected will happen. A founder will become sick or die or just change their mind about how they want to spend their life. A day like 9/11 will send the world as we know it into a three year tail spin. A year in which there is not a month that goes by without a tsunami, earthquake, major health epidemic, war or a hurricane will happen and the giving public will be so greatly pressed upon for human needs that there will be little left over for the animals. With global warming now finally being recognized as a planet changing reality we are only just beginning to see times of trouble…expensive trouble.
The following list of links go to stories about facilities that once housed big cats and failed. In some cases they never were really sanctuaries, but they claimed to be and many people were fooled into supporting them. In other cases they actually were sanctuaries and some of them even great ones but something happened and they either shut down or had to consider doing so. When a big cat sanctuary closes there is no where for the great cats to go. All of the decent sanctuaries are full and most of the rest continue to breed, sell and further exacerbate the exploitation. These are just a few sad examples of what happens when a big cat facility goes under.
Closed exotic cat facilities of considerable size:
Archangel Underwood, MN
Ashville Game Farm, Jeff Ash, NY
Bearcat Hollow, Ken Kraft, MN
Catherine Gordon Twiss, MS (had 86 lions and tigers when she was shut down)
Corpus Christi Zoo
Cougar Haven David Mallory had 38 big cats at one time, but only 14 at the time that he abandoned them. 9 tigers died while waiting for help to arrive.
Dennis Hill Exotics Shelbyville, IN (20 tigers confiscated in 2005 and he got rid of the last 4 in 2011)
Great Cats of Indiana
Greenville Wildlife Center in Greenville, NJ
Horseshoe Creek in Davenport, FL owned by Darryl Atkinson
Karl Mitchell, Pahrump, NV
L & L Exotics owned by Lorenza Pearson in Copeley Township, OH
Savage Kingdom owned by Robert Baudy in Centerville, FL (had 11 tigers at time of closure)
Buy Big Cat Auto Accessories
Siberian Tiger Foundation owned by Diana Cziraky aka Diana McCourt (6 tigers at time of closure)
Tiger Creek/Wild World Morepark, CA (4 tigers in 2004)
Tiger Rescue Colton, CA (2002 10 tigers were seized and in 2003 13 young tigers were confiscated and 58 cubs found in the freezer)
Tigers Only owned by Joan Byron-Marasek in Ocean County, NJ (24 tigers were seized and sent to Wild Animal Orphanage in 2003)
Tiger Truck Stop AKA Tiger Travel Plaza ordered to remove Tony the tiger by Dec. 2011
Wesa-A-Geh-Ya in Warrenton, MO Sandra and Kenneth Smith, owners of Wesa-A-Geh-Ya animal facility, settle with USDA after being charged with violations of Animal Welfare Act. Smiths agree to civil penalty of $13,000 and revoking of their AWA license. Although Smiths no longer have USDA exhibitor’s license or AWA license, no law prevents them from keeping their animals under little supervision from any state or federal agency. (Warrenton Journal)
Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, TX shuttered her doors in May of 2010 after a state attorney investigation into misappropriation of funds and a take over by the board of directors. At the time of closure the board members in charge said they had 400 wild animals and that 200 were tigers. Later, once groups like GFAS, IFAW and Born Free were called in there were only 75 tigers to be found. Where did 125 tigers go in those first couple of months? A year after closure there are still 30 tigers left languishing and countless primates, bears and other animals.
Zoo Cats AKA Zoo Dynamics owned by Marcus Cook FL and TX addresses (17 tigers in 2008, 7 in 2010)
This video shows facilities that are currently licensed and approved by the USDA and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission that have been operating at this level or worse for more than 10 years and yet are still open to the public. This shows precisely why we need better laws. Play 6 minute video HERE.
Cited by officials animal welfare violations but still in operation:
If you were the director of the Denver County Fair in Colorado, wouldn’t you research the people and acts you were bringing in and promoting? Wouldn’t you take 5 minutes to find out if the person bringing tiger cubs to your fair year after year is a convicted felon on multiple counts? Wouldn’t you be concerned that the USDA has filed a lawsuit against this person to revoke his license after years of USDA violations and the deaths of dozens of animals in his care?
It seems the management of the Denver County Fair did not. Otherwise, a quick Internet search would have revealed reams of negative information about Serenity Springs and its notorious owner Nick Sculac.
What about if you were a reporter doing a story about the Denver County Fair? Surely a reporter, who is trained to do research, would look into all angles of a story? Guess not. Reporter Tom Green from Denver’s Channel 2 only did a fluff piece about Sculac and the six-week-old tiger cub he used to promote the upcoming fair. Not once in the news piece did Green mention Sculac’s abusive history with animals or question whether young cubs forced to be handled by hundreds of people at the fair would be in the best interest of the cubs.
As those of us who truly love and appreciate big cats know, the real fact is that exotic cats should not be exploited at fairs and other venues and used for entertainment and profit. Please add your voice to ours in speaking up for these cubs: politely let the Denver County Fair and Denver’s Channel 2 news station know that the majority of people in America love animals and want these abusive practices to end.
I am shocked and disgusted to learn that the Denver County Fair is featuring visitor interactions with baby tiger cubs provided by Serenity Springs Wildlife Center. Nick Sculac, the notorious owner of Serenity Springs, is a convicted felon and the USDA has filed a lawsuit against him to revoke his license after years of USDA violations and the deaths of at least 31 animals in his care.
Quoting from the USDA and Secretary of Agriculture’s enforcement document regarding Serenity Springs dated February 1, 2012: “The gravity of the violations herein is great, and include the repeated noncompliance with the regulations and failure to meet the minimum standards for veterinary care, housing, and husbandry. Between May 2007 and January 2010, no fewer than 31 animals in respondent’s custody died.”
Is this the type of person the Denver County Fair and Channel 2 want to associate with and promote? Do you not do any research before allowing vendors to take part in your fair or be promoted on television? It is unconscionable that the Denver County Fair allows this! Please do the right thing immediately and halt your association with and promotion of this convicted felon and his irresponsible breeding and exploitation of tiger cubs and other wild animals.
Contact these people and let them know how you feel:
Denver County Fair
Dana Cain, Director 303-347-8252 email@example.com
Tracy Weil, Marketing Director 303-913-7508 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Novick, Entertainment Director email@example.com
Ventura County has conditionally APPROVED the housing of five tigers in the residential area of West Malibu at 11077 Pacific View Road, Malibu. We are writing to you to ask for your support to ensure that tigers are not introduced into this residential and sensitive wildlife area. The permit appears to be in Irena’s sister’s name:
SOPHIA KRYSZEK of ISIS PRESERVATION USDA # 93-C-0762 7131 TUJUNGA AVENUE NORTH HOLLYWOOD ,CA 91605
In short, the tiger merchant Irena Hauser allegedly has her residence in Beverly Hills, CA, but claims in her application that her family will be living on site with the tigers in Malibu. Hauser claims that the tigers will be used in the entertainment industry but she already commercializes them by selling tiger clothing and “teeth” online. Hauser claims that the tigers will be transported for filming purposes, putting the public at even greater risk every time the tigers are transported.
Tigers are motivated to escape by stimulus and these tigers will be surrounded by stimuli. They will be in the middle of the sensitive Santa Monica Mountains which support such wildlife as deer, rabbits and coyotes. Other domestic animals in the vicinity include many horses in an equestrian stable just next door to the proposed site for the tigers. The smell of horses will certainly stimulate the tigers’ appetite for escape.
The County has stated that they intend to issue a Negative Declaration for this project, implying there would be no significant impacts. No biological assessments have been made, violating permitting requirements in Ventura County. The noise and smell of the tigers will deter wildlife from using the area for foraging, shelter or movement between habitat areas. Over the long term, the larger wildlife species will no longer utilize the natural resources in the vicinity. This area is home to wildlife, living peaceably among residential family homes, small farming communities, and stables.
Please write a letter opposing case PL 13-0011 to the assigned case planner: firstname.lastname@example.org, or otherwise assist us in this matter. Attached is a list of County Supervisors who should also receive the opposition letters. Please send us a copy of your letter to email@example.com. We need your immediate help! firstname.lastname@example.org
Ventura County Board of Supervisors
Steve Bennett, District 1 Supervisor email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Parks, District 2 Supervisor fax: 805-480-0585 Linda.Parks@ventura.org
Kathy Long, District 3 Supervisor email@example.com
Peter C. Foy, District 4 Supervisor firstname.lastname@example.org
John C. Zaragoza, District 5 Supervisor email@example.com
Ventura County Planning Division 800 S. Victoria L#1740, Ventura CA 93009 tel: 805-654-2481 fax: 805-654-2509
Brian Baca, Commercial and Industrial Permits Section Manager Brian.Baca@ventura.org
Jay Dobrowalski, Case Planner Jay.Dobrowalski@ventura.org fax: 805-654-2509
Kim Prillhart, Planning Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Klemann, Residential Permits Supervisor email@example.com
Tricia Maier, Senior Program Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org