We are a sanctuary, not a zoo, so our animals come first. We do not allow people to wander around unescorted. Our tours are all guided and provide an educational experience that includes the plight of big cats in the wild and in captivity and what you can do to save them. You will be expected to follow these rules:
In Florida, weather is always an issue. In the summer it rains frequently, but often only for a few minutes. If you have paid for a tour and get rained out during your tour, we will give you a free pass to come back. Because the cats are spooked by umbrellas, they are not allowed but you should bring a rain coat or poncho if it looks like rain. Tours will be canceled during lightening storms. Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended.
You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.
You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or purchase a private tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phone calls and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.
If you are traveling with pets, you cannot bring them onto the property. Florida law (and common sense) prohibit you from leaving them in your car, even with the A/C running. Check out our Tour FAQ and Tour Policies.
The following is a partial listing (759) of incidents in the U.S. involving captive exotic cats since 1990. The U.S. incidents have resulted in the deaths of 24 humans, 17 adults and 5 children, the additional mauling of 260 more adults and children, 275 escapes, the killing of 146 big cats, and 133 confiscations. There have also been 296 big cat incidents outside the U.S. that have resulted in the deaths of 98 humans and the mauling of 155 humans by captive big cats. These figures only represent the headlines that Big Cat Rescue has been able to track. Because there is no reporting agency that keeps such records the actual numbers are certainly much higher. http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks
Mauled by a Privately Owned Exotic Pet Who Escaped
To see the number of exotic cats abandoned each year check out that section of our most recent Annual Report.
The U.S. represents less than 5% of the entire global population, but up through 2006 79% of ALL captive cat incidents occurred in the U.S. (Now that the US is clamping down on the exotic pet trade, the reports in 2007 show a decline in U.S. incidents compared to the rest of the world) Likewise, Florida represents less than 6% of the U.S. population while 12% of all U.S. incidents occur in Florida. Florida boasts the most comprehensive sets of regulations allowing private ownership of exotic cats while ranking #1 in the highest numbers of big cat killings, maulings and escapes. To view photos of fatal injuries from cases reported in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine click http://bigcatrescue.org/laws/AMJForensicFeline.pdf
July 7, 2016 Berlin, Germany: Two lions escaped from the zoo in the German town of Baruth, which is 46 miles from Berlin. The lions made a run for it at 11am into an area full of guests. A sharpshooting veterinarian was able to sedate the intrepid female lion so that she could be placed back in its cage, along with her male counterpart who stayed at the entry of the cage. No one knows how they made their escape, but the executive director of the wildlife park, Julian Dorsch, told the press that the outbreak was apparently due to ‘human error’.
July 7, 2016 Devon, UK: A Siberian lynx has escaped from Dartmoor Zoo and is on the loose. Keepers have warned it could attack ‘if alarmed or cornered’. Flaviu, arrived the night before his escape by chewing through a board in the wall of the enclosure. Police are on site and a helicopter is combing the area while children in a local nursery are being kept inside. Around 30 visitors were ushered to safety this morning and the zoo was shut for the day on the advice of the local council.
July 2, 2016 Spain: An animal caretaker has been killed by a tiger at a nature park in the southern Spanish town of Benidorm. The 37-year-old woman was attacked by the tiger while she was in his cage. According to news website Ultima Hora, she had left a gate to the tiger area open. Police contacted the Red Cross and ambulances rushed to the scene – Terra Natura de Benidorm nature park – but they were not able to act until the tiger had been tranquilised.
June 16, 2016 OR: Josephine County Animal Protection Officer David Pitts reports that the Great Cats general manager, Sarah (or Sherrie Johnson?), told him keeper Sara Romswinckel hadn’t noticed that the tiger’s “den” was unlocked when she pulled a cable opening a “guillotine” door, which in turn allowed the cat, a white tiger named Scooby, to enter the den. When the tiger then rubbed his face against the gate, it opened, prompting Romswinckel to push her body against it an effort to close the gate. When the keeper then put her arm across the slightly open gate, to gain leverage, the tiger struck. Romswinckel suffered fractures and extensive soft-tissue damage. Pitts reported that the tiger, if it escaped the den, could have hopped a 6-foot wooden fence. Craig Wagner, the park President, previously was cited for a “photo shoot,” where a teenager handled a tiger and leopard was bitten by the leopard, according to a USDA complaint filed in 2013.
June 12, 2016 Canada: A lynx scratched a little girl at the Ringtail Ranch in Wainfleet. The child pulled on a Plexiglas window on the enclosure, opening it wide enough that the lynx was able to reach out its paws and scratch the girl on either side of her head. She was standing there with her parents. Welland and District Humane Society executive director John Greer said the cat’s claws could easily cut through skin, and “it’s ridiculous the amount of damage they can do in a very short period of time.” “The little girl really got lucky,” he said.
June 7, 2016 UT: An Amur leopard escaped and was at large at the Hogle Zoo during peak visiting hours. Zeya, a 60-pound, four-year-old Amur Leopard, is one of the smallest animals to live at the zoo’s Asian Highlands exhibit. They said she apparently climbed up some mesh fencing that surrounds the enclosure and squeezed through one of the 6″ by 6″ holes at the top. A large quantity of Zeya’s fur was found on the mesh, which led zoo officials to reach this conclusion about Zeya’s escape. Zeya was found sleeping on a beam about 15 feet in the air just outside the fence to her cage. Her escape prompted a lockdown at the zoo and guests were ushered into buildings as workers contained Zeya. An emergency response time shot her with a tranquilizer dart and she was taken to the zoo’s hospital for observation.
May 21, 2016 Chile: Two lions were killed after a man jumped into the lion enclosure at the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo in Chile, local police said. They say the man climbed over the fence and removed his clothes before he approached the lions inside the enclosure, and zoo staff shot the lions to protect him. The incident has provoked outrage on social media, while the zoo is defending its actions.
Apr 21, 2016 TX: The Conroe Police Department began receiving phone calls reporting a small tiger on the loose. Given that tigers are not native to the Houston, Texas suburb, this probably seemed pretty strange. Conroe police are not pleased with the young tigress’ presence. Dorcy McGinnis of the Conroe Police Department told KHOU, “[The tiger] is a very strong animal. It definitely would not be appropriate here in the City of Conroe.” Although tigers can be legally kept as pets in the state of Texas, Conroe’s city ordinances prohibit owning or harboring a “dangerous animal” in the city. A day later and no owner has come forward.
Apr 15, 2016 Palm Beach, FL: A woman has died after a tiger injured her inside the tiger’s night house at the Palm Beach Zoo. The victim was said to be “very knowledgeable about the tigers and loved them dearly”. She was flown by Trauma Hawk to St. Mary’s for treatment, according to Naki Carter, a zoo spokesperson. Police said the tiger was tranquilized. Authorities had to wait until the drugs took effect on the tiger before rescue crews could get to the victim. Yes, that’s two people killed by captive tigers on the same day. A new record.
Apr 15, 2016 San Salvadore: A white tiger being kept in a private zoo in El Salvador fatally attacked its keeper and escaped but was recaptured hours later. “It looks like the keeper wasn’t following safety protocols as he fed the white tiger and it attacked him, causing serious injuries that caused his death.” The big cat was being kept in an animal park run by a group called the Wildlife Refuge Foundation on the outskirts of Jayaque, a town just west of the capital San Salvador.
Apr 2, 2016 Malta: The hunters’ international fair, organised by the Hunters’ Federation, attracted thousands of visitors to Montekristo Estates for a weekend of guns, ammunition and hunting paraphernalia. It also attracted visitors to the animal park that had been closed last Nov after the mauling of another child by a tiger on the loose. While the zoo was inexplicably open, a second child, this time a young boy, suffered scratches to his neck and back from another animal, a juvenile lioness.
Mar 7, 2016 Russia: A toddler has been mauled by a lion cub after it was left to run loose in a Russian park in Vladimir, east of Moscow. A traveling “zoo” owner was showing off the lion cub in the park. Within seconds the young animal’s attention is diverted to a small child sitting nearby and the cub races to the boy and begins to maul his neck. His mother can be heard screaming in Russian “get him” as the helpless child cries out “mummy.” The handler quickly pulls the lion off the toddler and proceeds to beat it.
Feb 28, 2016 Canada: The owner of Papanack’s Exotic Animals shot and killed a five-year-old male lion named Zeus that had escaped from its enclosure. Officers from Hawkesbury OPP rushed to the scene and found the African lion walking near the entrance of Papanack Park Zoo, an unfenced area. There was no way to contain the animal, police say, and the zoo owner was forced to shoot it. Kerri Bayford posted on behalf of the park “At approximately 5:19 p.m. our male lion breached its primary perimeter fence. Police were called immediately and within minutes our staff, with police present, made the decision to euthanize the lion on our property,” Bayford wrote. “The risk to the public of trying to sedate the lion was simply too high as the sedative takes too long to kick in and this would have put everyone at risk.”
Jan 21, 2016 Australia: A 12 year old tiger has attacked a keeper at an Australian zoo founded by the late Steve Irwin. The incident, which took place Thursday morning at the Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo, left 41-year-old Che Woolcott with “significant puncture wounds” to his head and forearm, according to local media reports. He was treated at the scene before being transferred to the hospital.
Dec 18, 2015 Canada, BC: Creston RCMP say a cheetah was spotted along Highway 3a in the Crawford Bay and Kootenay Bay areas. The cheetah was seen at the side of the road near Kootenay Bay by a motorist who took some pictures of the cat wearing an orange cloth collar and called the RCMP.
Dec 17 2015 Durban South Africa: A tiger that had escaped from its enclosure at the Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park in Cato Ridge on Tuesday has been shot dead. The circus tiger, owned by Brian Boswell had originally survived the shot gun blast and walked off into the nearby bushes. It was not clear if the tiger was shot a second time or if it died from its wounds later.
Nov 29 Malta: Ħal-Farrug zoo was closed by its owners after a tiger severely injures a 3 year old boy. A spokesman for the zoo said the incident happened when the two handlers were walking the “friendly” tiger, which they had raised, outside its cage since it had been slightly unwell. The tiger was lying on the floor when the incident happened. Upon seeing the animal, the boy ran towards it, prompting the tiger to raise its paws, lashing the child in the face in the process, the spokesman said.
Nov 16 Yemen: Other than rebels, Saudi troops also have to deal with other elements while fighting in Yemen. In this case, they had to deal with a lion! The lion attacked the Saudi soldiers but the trained soldiers managed to control him. They eventually tied him to a tank with a rope.
Nov 1 2015 Mexico: Police in Mexico are on the lookout for two tigers that escaped from a ranch in the western state of Michoacán. Such incidents are a regular occurrence in Mexico, where ownership of big cats is not uncommon. Just two days earlier, another tiger escaped from a hotel where it was kept as an attraction in the neighboring state of Guerrero. In September 2015, authorities in Jalisco state captured yet another tiger that had escaped from a gated community in the city of Guadalajara.
Nov. 1, 2015 OMAHA, NB: A 33-year-old woman is recovering from a severe hand injury after police say she broke into the Omaha Zoo to pet a tiger. Officer James Shade says the woman acted aggressively and appeared to be intoxicated. Police determined that the woman snuck into the zoo to try to pet a tiger. She was bitten when she reached into the animal’s cage. The woman was ticketed on suspicion of trespassing while she was being treated at the hospital.
Oct 3, 2015 Bahalwpur Zoo: A zookeeper identified as Fayyaz was badly injured when two lions attacked him after he entered the lion enclosure. The incident happened when the zookeeper reportedly entered the enclosure to shift the cubs to another room.
Sept 19, 2015 New Zealand: The woman killed by a male tiger named Oz at Hamilton Zoo today was senior staff member, Samantha Kudeweh, age 43 who held the job title of Zoo Curator. She had over 20 years experience in the field. Before joining the team in Hamilton, she had spent eight years at Auckland Zoo and two years at Melbourne and Werribee Zoo’s. Before working in zoo, she completed a BSc at Auckland University.
Sept 16, 2015 Warsaw, Poland: A police spokesman says a tiger has fatally wounded a keeper at a zoo in Wroclaw, southwestern Poland. Rynkiewicz said the rare Sumatran tiger attacked the man during routine cleaning of the animal’s run. Prosecutors are investigating the accident. TVN24 said the man had 20 years of experience in taking care of predators at the zoo.
Sept 8, 2015 Suzhuo, China: A lioness was hit by a car and then shot 20 times by police after escaping a local circus.
Sept 6, 2015 Indianapolis, IN: The Indianapolis Zoo issued a Code Red after a cheetah escaped from its enclosure. The cheetah somehow got onto the “beaver bridge” and managed to escape its enclosure. Zoo officials said the cheetah was one of two new brothers that came to the zoo from San Diego a week ago.
Sept 4, 2015 Hemet, CA: A 3 month old tiger was found wandering the streets of Hemet, CA before being turned in to the Ramona Humane Society for care. The 25-pound cub was found declawed and will need surgery to remove a hernia from his abdomen. It has been illegal to declaw big cats in the U.S. since 2006. He has been sent to Lions, Tigers & Bears in Alpine, CA.
Aug 17, 2015 Detroit, MI: Animals of Montana brought an adult tiger, bobcats and wolves to the abandoned Packard Plant for a photo shoot. When the tiger escaped handlers instructed the film crew to chase it downstairs using a weedwhacker and a tarp. City officials claimed they had no idea that wild animals would be brought to the site, much less set free.
Aug 14, 2015 Morganton, NC: Tyra, a Serval, went missing in the White Street/Valdese Avenue area of Morganton. Owner Jon Freed is afraid someone will mistake his 45-pound cat for a cheetah. Freed recently moved from Fort Mill, South Carolina, to Morganton, NC. Tyra escaped from Freed’s screened-in porch. This is yet one more reason why we need a federal ban on exotic cat possession.
Jun 14, 2015 Georgia Russia: Tigers, lions, a hippopotamus and other animals escaped from the zoo in Georgia’s capital after heavy flooding destroyed their enclosures, prompting authorities to warn residents in Tbilisi to say inside Sunday. At least 12 people have been killed in the disaster, including three zoo workers. One lost his arm to a tiger last month.
Jun 1, 2015 Johannesburg, SA: Katherine Chappell, 29, a visual effects artist for Game of Thrones, was killed and her tour guide seriously injured in an attack by a lioness at the Lion Park near Lanseria. The two people were travelling in the car with their windows open. It’s understood a lioness jumped through the open window, biting the woman who was in the passenger seat. The driver, a tour guide, was badly injured while attempting to free the woman from the animal’s grasp. The park’s Scott Simpson said, “There was a car driving to the lion camp and the lioness came through the window and it bit the tourist. The ambulance arrived quite soon but the lady has passed away.” Three months ago an Australian tourist was bitten in the thigh while driving though the park, also with his window down.
Jun 2, 2015 Alor Gajah, Malaysia: The body of the 38-year-old animal keeper named Herman who was mauled to death by a tiger at a popular resort has been sent back to his country of origin. District police chief Superintendent Muhammad Ismail Muhammad Yusof said “In classifying the case as sudden death we have closed the case and the victim, who was single, has been sent back to Indonesia.” He went on to say, “It could be that the caretaker had taken his relationship with the tiger for granted since he had been handling the tiger for the past eight years, including bathing and feeding it.”
May 27, 2015 Russia: Doctors had to amputate one arm on a woman who was attacked by a tiger in Tbilisi Zoo. The victim, Guliko Chitadze, is a 25 year veteran of the zoo. She was in the caretaker area at the time of the incident, while the tiger was inside the cage. She was taken to the hospital and according to the doctors she is in a serious condition, and her legs may have to be amputated. Tbilisi Zoo was opened in 1927 and currently holds 300 species of animals, including white tiger, white lion, African wild dogs, elephants and penguins. There are also fishes and reptiles. (The very fact that they are exhibiting white tigers and white lions would seem to indicate they are just a roadside zoo.
May 24, 2015 Tiger Temple, Thailand: The abbot of the province’s renowned “Tiger Temple” is in hospital after he was mauled by one of the scores of tigers that have made the monastery world famous. The monk said he was walking Hern Fa, a male Bengal tiger aged about seven or eight, on the temple’s ground. The abbot had raised the tiger from a young age and loved it very much. Suddenly Hern Fa attacked the 64 year old monk. It mauled his face and shoulder. The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) first announced the seizure of 10 tigers kept at the temple about a decade ago because the temple had no permit to keep them. However, officials then asked the temple to help take care of the animals instead of taking them back. Department chief Nipon Chotiban said he did not know why the authorities wanted the temple to take care of the tigers. The number of tigers has since increased from 10 to 146. The department recently wanted the temple to hand them over, saying it had no permits to keep them. But Luangta Chan and his disciples are fiercely opposed to the removal of the tigers and other wildlife from the temple. The 146 tigers and their future offspring are state property and could remain at the temple on the condition that it must seek a legal permit to operate a zoo. The temple must not exploit the tigers and use legal ways to generate income to feed the animals.
May 17, 2015 China: A lion was shot dead after it killed one of its keepers and escaped at the Taian Tiger Mountain Park in Shandong. Authorities said the 65-year-old keeper was cleaning the enclosure when the lion bit him on his shoulders and neck. He died later from his injuries. The lion was on the loose in the zoo for more than an hour before it was shot dead by police. The spokesman said they cornered the lion by a wall within the zoo grounds, and shot it dead to “ensure the safety of park visitors”.
Apr 30, 2015 OKC, OK: A 4-year-old Sumatran tiger named Lola got out of her enclosure at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Officials said they issued a “Code Red,” alerting zoo staff to the situation. In a statement, they said: “In keeping with the Zoo’s safety protocol, the public was ushered out of the Cat Forest area and Zoo-wide announcements were made to inform guests of the situation. The veterinary team immobilized the animal at approximately 2:02 p.m. to extricate her from the space between the exhibits and transport her to the tiger holding building. The veterinary staff is monitoring her condition and she continues to recover well from the immobilization. The emergency alert was cleared by 2:25 p.m. and the Zoo resumed normal operations.” Visitors to the zoo told CBS “We ran, we were weren’t really thinking about anything, we were just going, we were just running out. It was just pretty – pretty intense,” said Dean Smith.
Apr 29, 2015 London, England: A man was mauled to death by lions after jumping into the lions’ enclosure at the East London zoo. Buffalo City Metro spokesman Thandy Matebese said “According to the CCTV footage‚ the man entered the zoo this morning at around 9am. He paid the entrance fee and proceeded into the zoo premises. He was alone and did not display any signs of being emotional or distressed. We suspect that he used the corner of the security wall and the fence of the lion’s enclosure to climb up and jumped over the fence. His corpse was discovered around 10am when it was time to feed the lions.”
Apr 15, 2015 Seattle, WA: A 6-month-old lion cub walked out of its exhibit through an open door April 15, the same day handlers moved elephants Bamboo and Chai to the Oklahoma City Zoo. The cub roamed the service area in the feline building for about an hour before being returned to his exhibit. The escape fuels the ongoing legal battle surrounding the elephants. It was used as evidence of a pattern of unsafe handling in a complaint filed Monday by a group that wants Bamboo and Chai moved to a sanctuary instead of another zoo.
Apr 1, 2015 Lion Park, South Africa: Only two days after an Australian tourist was bitten by a lion at the Lion Park in Honeydew, Joburg, a 13-year-old boy was attacked by a cheetah. The boy who lives in an informal settlement close by, had been riding his bicycle when the incident happened. Park manager, Scott Simpson said that the boy had cut through a wire fence and took a short cut through the park. Two game guides rushed to assist him, but the cheetah managed to bite him twice before they reached him. Even though cheetahs are known to be the most docile of the big cats, often found in petting pens at wildlife experience centres, their natural instincts to chase after moving prey may kick in in these sorts of situations. Two days before this incident, Brendan Smith from Australia had been attacked by a lion. He had opened his window while driving through the Lion Park.
Mar 27, 2015 China, Yichun city, Jiangxi: A zookeeper, named Gong, was attacked by a tiger at the zoo. Employees rushed to drive the tiger away and injected it with anesthetic, while paramedics carried out the badly mauled body. Despite immediate medical treatment, the keeper was later pronounced dead. Reports from the scene indicate that after the tiger was fed that morning, someone at the zoo forgot to close the door separating the enclosure from the feeding area.
Mar 9, 2015 India, Bannerghata National Park: With more than 50 bite wounds and scratches, doctors are keeping a close watch on the animal keeper, who continued to remain critical a day after he was mauled by a lion. Krishna (38) was with four others in the holding house at the lion safari when the big cat slipped through an open squeeze cage and pounced on him. “He has at least 20 deep wounds, and nearly 40 scratches. The surgery on the deep wounds is scheduled for Thursday. As it is an animal bite, there is a high chance of infection that can spread to the muscles causing gangrene,” said A.N. Venkatesh, Head of the Department of Emergency at Apollo Hospitals on Bannerghata Road. Nakula (4), the 200-kg lion that had attacked his keeper continued to remain in its pride of ten.
Feb 15, 2015 Monterey: A stunned Miguel Martinez, 32, got home from work and discovered a lion in his front yard, trying to get into his house with his young daughter. He saw the big cat lying under a bush outside his front door as he pulled into his driveway, assuming it was a toy – until it started growling. Fearing his children would be attacked, Mr Martinez sat in his Audi and called police, who arrived and humanely trapped the seven-month old beast. A 19-year-old pregnant neighbour, Maria Fernanda Martinez, who had named him Simba after receiving him as a gift for getting pregnant.
Feb. 12, 2015 Seoul, South Korea: An zoo keeper died after apparently being attacked by two lions at a zoo in South Korea’s capital, officials said. A colleague found the keeper, 52-year-old Kim Geun-bae, unconscious and bleeding heavily from his neck and legs in the animals’ enclosure, as a male and female lion wandered near him, according to Seoul Children’s Grand Park official Jisun Lee. Kim was pronounced dead at a hospital about two hours later, she said. There were no witnesses or visitors at the time of the attack because the zoo has been closed since last week to prevent the spread of avian flu, Lee said. The park said Kim had 20 years’ experience as an animal keeper and had been working with dangerous animals such as lions, tigers and leopards for the past three years.
Feb. 9, 2015 Egypt: Faten El-Helw was in the middle of her routine, dancing and waving to the crowds during the circus performance in Egypt, when the lion attacked. The crowd of adults and children can be heard screaming and the music stops as her fellow performers rush to her rescue. El-Helw comes from a long line of lion tamers – many of whom have suffered similar attacks. Her late husband Ibrahim reportedly died from his injuries after being attacked by a lion in 2004, while relative Mohamed El-Helw was mauled and died during the 1980s.
Feb. 2015 Johannesburg, SA: ‘I’m 15 years old and have survived mauling by lions in a cage which was opened by the ranger,’ Neha Sharma wrote. ‘The lions were as tall as me and attacked my head… I could hear lions teeth crunching on my head and biting my arms and chest. While I was passing out I could hear mum and dad screaming for help.’ Dr Sharma recalled ‘My wife and I were yelling, kept asking the Park Ranger to help Neha but he remained on the ground. He just left my daughter and didn’t move once. So I thought he was dead.’ Dr Sharma said he could hear his daughter screaming out for him as he watched the lion bite her head, arms and legs. Neha then became unconscious when the lion bit her on her chest. ‘I felt so helpless. That moment felt like hell to me. No one was around to help and I thought I was going to be left with nothing,’ Dr Sharma said. ‘So at that point, I remember thinking that I had to fight the lion myself knowing that I was going to die. I knew if I went in, I would be killed but that would be better than watching my daughter get eaten alive.’ But Neha extraordinarily regained consciousness at that moment, stood up and ran straight towards the cage gate where her father opened it and let her out.
Dec 25, 2014 Kuala Lampur, Malaysia: The Malayan tiger escaped the Taiping Zoo when maintenance work was being carried out by new workers. Workers immediately shot the animal with a tranquiliser dart, however it managed to run into the forest area nearby after jumping over the 1.8 metre zoo wall. The tiger was found in the forest and was shot with a tranquiliser dart again and was recaptured.
Dec 11, 2014 Kuwait City: A Filipina woman died two days after she was attacked by a lion inside a house in Sulaibikhat. According to security sources, the medical report indicated that the housemaid was bitten by the lion inside her employer’s house where the owner allegedly raises wild animals. During interrogations, the sponsor denied raising a lion in his house. A case has been registered and further investigations in this regard are ongoing.
Dec 7, 2014: Barcelona, Spain: A 45 year old man, with a history of odd behavior, leaped into the lion’s cage at the Barcelona Zoo, and was mauled by 3 lions. He was dragged down a tunnel by three beasts in the frightening attack. He was rescued alive, but taken to hospital in a serious condition after being bitten a number of times.
Dec 3, 2014: Buckhead, GA: A SiberianLynx attacked his caregiver while his owner, Fred Boyajian, was out of town. The person was reportedly bitten on the head at the 3000 block of Paces Ferry Road NW. Police say the woman was bitten on her head and had cuts on her arms and back. She was treated at the hospital. David Laws, the primary caregiver for the cats tried to downplay the event, but the 911 call was pretty terrifying. The owner has 9 cats, including 4 Siberian Lynxes, one Canada lynx, and 3 other cats of comparable size. Channel 2’s Carl Willis went to the neighborhood, where neighbors said it isn’t the first incident involving the large cats. Neighbors are nervous as it’s still not clear how the animal was able to attack a person hired to feed them. They say it doesn’t help matters that one of the large cats has gotten loose in the neighborhood before. Aerial footage from NewsChopper2 showed a large cat pacing in its cage at a home in Buckhead. It was moments after police say a Siberian Lynx bit someone. Police found the victim bleeding heavily from her head. DNR says the owner is permitted to breed the animals on the property. In 2004, another lynx, belonging to the same owner, got loose. A 50-pound lynx was spotted near a home on Beechwood Hills Court. “Because I don’t think any of us really know how they’re being contained and if one of them was to get out and bite someone in my family or anyone else, it’d be pretty terrifying,” a neighbor said.
Oct. 31, 2014 China, Chongqing, Xinhua: A circus tiger killed an 8 year old girl in southwestern Chongqing Municipality. She slipped into an closed animal training site of a circus in Leheledu Amusement Park and died in the hospital after serious injuries. The circus is hired by the Leheledu Amusement Park for performances. A spokesman from the park said they have reached initial agreement on settling the incident with the victim’s family.
Oct. 21, 2014 Thailand: Phuket’s Tiger Kingdom closed its Big Cat enclosure after a 15-month-old tiger attacked Australian tourist Paul Goudie, 49, biting his both legs and stomach. Bangkok Post reported that Mr Goudie has undergone surgery and has more operations scheduled. The incident happened while Mr Goudie was walking around in an area where visitors are allowed to touch and take photos with the big cats. The adult tigers are reportedly chained and drugged so that visitors can cuddle up to them and take photographs. Tiger Kingdom has closed Big Cat enclosure temporarily, though visitors can still visit cages containing smaller tigers, reported Phuket Wan.
Oct. 10, 2014 Little Rock, AR: A three-year-old boy was mauled when he fell from the railing above the jaguar pit at the Little Rock Zoo. According to the police report, the boy’s grandfather placed the toddler on the railing to view the two jaguars. His father Andrew Garber was taking pictures of the cats when he says he saw the boy fall in his peripheral view. The boy fell four-and-a-half meters, or about 15 feet, into the jaguar pit. Witnesses told THV11 they saw one jaguar biting child’s neck and the other biting the boy’s foot. The toddler suffered a fractured skull, scalp lacerations and minor puncture wounds both during the fall and jaguar attack.
Oct 9, 2014 St. Paul, MN: Brian Casey Phillips climbed over the guardrail at the Como Zoo and was apparently yelling at the cougars in the exhibit and pushing on the cage wall when he apparently was scratched by one of the cougars. He was cited for disturbing zoo animals and released at the scene.
Oct. 6, 2014 Jupiter, FL: A construction worker lost his thumb after being bitten by a tiger at Zoological Wildlife Foundation (a ZAA member) owned by a convicted felon and suspected drug kingpin, Mario Tabraue. Visitors to the zoo are encouraged to interact with the animals in the vast collection, which includes an alligator, different types of monkeys, birds, two different kinds of anteater, a fox and other exotic creatures.
In December 1987, the Associated Press reported that Tabraue was arrested as part of a sting operation targeting a drug-trafficking ring that killed an informant and dismembered his body while smuggling in a half-million pounds of marijuana. During the trial, witnesses recounted how Tabraue and an associate allegedly carved up the corpse of federal informant Larry Nash with a circular saw, dumped it in a horse trough and set it alight. Tabraue’s drug-smuggling operation allegedly imported 500,000 of tons of pot and more than 200lbs of cocaine from Colombia, earning him $75million in profit.
Now Tabraue funds Frank Vitello, a lobbyist to thwart the Big Cats & Public Safety Act which would put an end to the private collection of big cats.
Sept 22, 2014 Delhi Zoo: A white tiger attacked and killed a 20-year-old man named Maksood who apparently slipped and fell 18 feet into a dry moat at the Delhi zoo. Some say he was sitting on the enclosure, others say the barricade was too low and he fell in. A witness said he raced to the tiger enclosure after hearing screams, to see the man locked in the tiger’s jaws, “writhing badly in pain”.
“We saw some kids throwing in small sticks and stones inside the tiger enclosure. Then we saw that a white tiger had gripped a man by his neck. No one helped him,” said Himanshu, a visitor. Witnesses say the man suffered for an agonizing 10-15 minutes before dying.
“The tiger didn’t attack at first, till stones were thrown at it. I saw the man folding his hands before the tiger, who kept looking at first. The man tried to run away but the tiger swiped at him, wounding his neck. Then it carried him away by the head,” said Bittu, a witness who filmed the horrific incident on his mobile phone.
August 24, 2014 Rietfontein, Johannesburg, S. Africa: A circus worker sustained severe bite wounds and lacerations to his neck and chest, Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said in a statement. The tiger escaped from its enclosure early on Sunday morning. The man was taken to hospital. Botha could provide no further details on the attack. Nor could he provide the name of the circus, which he said was on Beyers Naude Drive.
August 23, 2014 Dallas, TX: A 35 year old senior zookeeper is recovering after being attacked by a lion at the Dallas zoo. “We had an unfortunate incident and accident with one of our keepers who was actually in the same space with a lion and was bitten by the lion,” said Gregg Hudson, President and CEO of the Dallas Zoo. One of two Zookeepers who were present, inadvertently left the door of an enclosure area open. The male Zookeeper who, according to zoo officials, is among the most experienced, was bitten at least once on the shoulder and scratched several times. “Anytime that you’re bitten by a lion, it’s going to be pretty serious …but I was able to speak to him this afternoon and he’s in good spirits, ” assured Hudson.
August 16, 2014 Cusco, Peru: The teacher, who was out with the students for a day of fun at the Monaco Circus in Cusco, Peru, was called out by the lion tamer to show her students that the animal didn’t pose a threat. But the applause quickly turned to screams of terror when she entered the cage and the lion attacked her, dragging her out in front of the crowd with its teeth while her students watched in shock.
August 10, 2014 Aiken, SC:Lt, Jake Mahoney with the Aiken Department of Public Safety is investigating the disappearance of a pet mountain lion from a Aquarium Pets on Richland Avenue West in Aiken. The animal is described as black in color, (mountain lions are all tan, so was this really a black leopard?) weighing approximately 100 pounds, and three feet tall. The mountain lion was wearing a dog harness when it was last seen. The owner told officers that the animal has been declawed, which has been illegal since 2004. Investigators have determined that the entire story has been fabricated, Mahoney said Sunday evening. Mahoney said at this time there is no indication as to why the original complainant fabricated the story. The search for the missing mountain lion has now turned into a criminal investigation pertaining to the filing of a false police report. The stats for escapes and incidents above have been reduced accordingly.
August 1, 2014 Brazil: An 11-year-old boy was visiting Cascavel Zoo in Parana, Brazil, when he jumped over the barriers and started trying to touch a tiger named Hu through the fence. Before the boy’s father realized his son was in the prohibited area, the tiger had attacked the child. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but his arm was so damaged that after several operations surgeons decided they had to remove it.
July 30, 2014 Queensland, Australia: An animal handler is recovering after being bitten by a tiger named Juma at Australia Zoo (owned by the family of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin) on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The 42-year-old suffered puncture wounds while trying to move the big cat to another enclosure. He was taken to hospital in a stable condition. Last year, 30-year-old tiger handler Dave Styles was mauled on the neck and shoulders during an attempt to swim with tigers.
July 27, 2014 Tawas, MI : Renae Ferguson and her daughter Tina Dobson said the lion attack happened at the Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park. They were visiting the zoo when they claim a worker let them into the lion’s cage. “I was totally in shock. I really didn’t believe that was part of my finger laying on the ground,” Renae Ferguson said. “I put my hand down there to pet it and it ripped my finger,” Ferguson said.
July 27, 2014 France: A lion reached out of his cage and scratched a 16-month-old girl at the Claudio Zavatta Circus in France, injuring the child’s head and back. The child wandered away from her parents and walked past a security barrier that way around the animals’ cages. The lion stuck a paw out of his cage and grabbed for the girl. She was taken to the hospital to be stitched up. The news came the same day as a not guilty verdict for the owner of a circus elephant that killed an elderly man.
April 14, 2014 Khobar, Saudi Arabia: A tiger in a private zoo attacked an Asian worker when he was cleaning the premises. Other workers managed to free the man before the beast could devour him. Despite the efforts, the worker died due to the severe injuries he sustained on his head, shoulder, and other parts of his body. The incident took place earlier this week, reported Sabq news.The spokesman for the Eastern Region Police, Colonel Ziad Alriqaiti said that they were investigating the incident that took place at the small private zoo near a housing complex in the eastern town of Khobar.
Feb 17, 2014 China: After going to the Chengdu Zoo, 27 year old Yang Jinhai wrote how depressing it was to see the ‘noble and magnificent tigers’ living in such humble surroundings, where they were caged and unable to follow their natural instincts to hunt and kill. He then announced that he had decided to sacrifice himself in order to provide the Bengal tigers with support. He climbed into the tiger cage to sacrifice himself, but was rescued by staff after being dragged around the cage for a while by the tigers.
Jan 26, 2014 Montgomery, AL: An inbred white tiger escaped from her enclosure and entered another animal pen at the Montgomery Zoo, prompting a lockdown of the facility. WSFA-TV reported that a street near the zoo was temporarily blocked during the lockdown. Montgomery police also responded to the situation. The tiger was out of her exhibit for about 30 minutes. The big cat was tranquilized and returned to her own enclosure. Zoo officials are now working to repair the breach in the underwater fencing. The zoo introduced its two young tigers in March.
Jan 20, 2014 Tbilisi, Ukraine: A 24 year old lion tamer, named Roman Gurkin, from a group of Ukrainian performers entered the lion’s cage to do some cleaning, and that was when the animal attacked. Gurkin, who had been caring for the lion for years, died from his injuries at the Republican Hospital in Tbilisi. Thursday night’s performance was just over when the incident happened. This was the circus’ last performance in Georgia.
Jan 3, 2014 Spring Hill, FL: The agricultural unit of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is assisting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in locating a lion believed to be loose from the Survival Outreach Sanctuary run by Judy Watson. The facility is located at 22005 Bowman Road in Spring Hill. USDA cited this facility for unsafe lion caging in Feb 2013 and gave Watson until March 2013 to make repairs but there is no evidence that USDA ever followed up. SOS cited by USDA for unsafe Lion Cage. A few days later a deer, that had apparently failed rehab, gored out the eye of a visitor and left her badly cut on her neck and arms.
Dec 22, 2013 San Diego, CA: A female Malayan tiger was killed Saturday while mating at the San Diego Zoo. Zoo officials say what happened at the zoo on Saturday when “Tiga” was killed was not an attack, but rather said it was a natural part of breeding. What is NOT natural is introducing captive cats to each other in such small spaces. These animals should be free to choose their own mates and not be held captive and used to breed more animals for captivity.
Dec 17, 2013 Shanghai: A 56 year old keeper named Zhou, at Shanghai’s zoo, was mauled to death by a rare South China tiger after entering the 9 year old male’s enclosure to clean it. The tiger was had no prior record of aggression against people. It said the attack occurred at the zoo’s breeding facility where safety procedures are in place. State media cited unidentified colleagues as saying the man entered the tiger enclosure to clean it and “did not come out again.” The highly endangered South China tiger is considered effectively extinct in the wild after decades of being hunted as a pest. Only a few are kept in zoos. Shanghai’s zoo is one of China’s largest and most popular urban animal parks.
Dec 9, 2013 Spain: Danny Gottani of the Gottani Circus was in the middle of a performance when the tiger leapt at him, wrapping its arms around the trainer and swiping at him. Other circus workers had to hit the animal with sticks to get it off 60 year old Gottani, who was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He had been working with tigers since he was 18. Gottani’s mother also taken after she had a panic attack watching the terrifying scene.
Dec 8 2012 Montgomery, AL: A tiger escaped into a neighboring cage at the Montgomery Zoo, according to WSFA. The Montgomery Zoo introduced its two new Bengal tigers, an orange male and a white female, in March, but something led to one driving the other out. The report says the zoo as well the street surrounding it were put on lock down after the animal entered another animal’s pen. The Montgomery Police Department responded and the Montgomery Zoo staff was able to get the tiger back into its exhibit.
Dec 2, 2013 Duluth, MN: At the Lake Superior Zoo a 4-year veteran zoo-keeper was feeding the Siberian tiger venison, when the food slipped from her hand and the tiger tried to catch it but instead caught the zookeepers finger. Jennifer Eickhoff was doing operant conditioning with Ussuri, a 400-pound male Amur tiger when a piece of meat got stuck in the fence and she apparently pushed it in with her finger. “It’s still attached, it’s just a little on the mangled side,” said Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations. “She was in complete shock.” She was taken to the hospital in Duluth. Pruett says the bite was completely unintentional. “When she comes back to work, I’ll sit down with her and we’ll discuss the incident and we’ll look through our protocols and we’ll make the necessary changes to make sure this type of accident doesn’t happen again,” said Pruett.
Nov 25, 2013 Australia: A 30 year old tiger handler, named Dave Styles, who has 9 years of experience at this zoo, was mauled by a tiger that he had raised from a cub, during a show at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He was bitten on the shoulder and neck. Several colleagues risked their own lives and rushed to his rescue, dragging the man to safety. The incident happened in front of a crowd of spectators. Paramedics tried to treat the man at the scene but massive bleeding led to him being flown to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. His condition is listed as serious but stable. In a radio interview with Carole Baskin, by Fairfax Radio Network, it was stated to her that this zoo participates in pay to play schemes whereby the zoo patrons pay to pose with cubs.
Nov 24, 2013 Seoul: A 52 year old zookeeper, named Shim, at Seoul Zoo died a couple weeks after being mauled by a 3 year old male Siberian tiger after the animal escaped from its indoor enclosure into a corridor used by zoo staff, Yonhap news agency reported. The incident prompted calls for improved safety checks and awareness at the zoo, the South Korean news agency said.
Nov 9 2013 Sherwood, OR: Renee Radziwon-Chapman, a 35 yr old woman was killed after she was bitten by a cougar at WildCat Haven. She was alone at the facility at the time. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said they are not releasing details about the worker killed but said the medical examiner was responding. News reports stated that fire crews have had a difficult time reaching the worker because there are several cats loose within the enclosure where Chapman was found dead. Renee was survived by her husband, Aaron Chapman, a former worker at the facility and their 5 month old daughter, Noa Elise. WildCat Haven is the lifetime home for more than 60 neglected, abandoned, and abused captive-born wildcats.
Oct 5 2013 Garold Wayne Interactive Zoo, Wynnewood, OK: Joe Schreibvogel, owner of the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, OK according to ABC news, said the arm was still attached when the 27 year old, Kelci Saffery was airlifted to Pauls Valley Hospital helipad as the nearest air evac had to respond from Duncan, Oklahoma. From there she was air lifted to OU Medical Center where her arm was amputated from the elbow down. Joe Schreibvogel blamed Saffery on facebook, and it was posted on dozens of news sites, saying, “This was an employee error of violating the safety protocols of placing any part of the body inside a cage.” That seems like a hypocritical policy given that Schreibvogel frequently parades around in front of staff and guests walking an adult tiger on a leash and allowing staff and even guests to go in the cages and play with lions, ligers and tigers.
Sept 17, 2013 Ethiopia Musie Kiflom Zoo: A lion has mauled to death a keeper at a zoo in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, after he forgot to close the door to the inner cage where the animal sleeps. The lion, named Kenenisa bit Abera Silsay, 51, in the neck. The attack is said to have lasted for 15-20 minutes. This is the second time a zookeeper has been killed by a lion at the centre in the past 17 years.
Sept 7, 2013 Kuwait: A passerby lured a runaway lion roaming an upmarket suburb of Kuwait into his car and then called the police. Pictures in Kuwaiti media showed the animal glaring out of the back of a police car. The lion, which police said was a young adult, filled the backseat. Police are seeking the owner of the lion, believed to be someone who was illegally rearing it as a pet in a country where such animals are sometimes considered status symbols by rich individuals.
Sept 5, 2013 Starkville, MS: Huyanh Ralph Tran, 35, was arrested following an exotic animals investigation. Tran resides Park Avenue, where a search warrant was issued on August 28. Officers responded to neighbors complaining of loud animal noises coming from the residence. Once inside the residence, investigators discovered an illegal commercial exotic animal breeding farm with dozens of large constrictor snakes, African cats, rare frogs, parrots, macaws and other large birds.
Sept 4, 2013 Fairfield Beach, OH: The Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins says the agency wants to know how the 400 lb., 2-year-old lioness ended up in a neighbor’s yard Sunday in Fairfield County. Hawkins said the animal was registered, though its enclosure might not meet the state’s temporary standards. The lion belongs to John Moore. He worked as a caretaker for the suicidal man who freed dozens of exotic animals near Zanesville two years ago.
Aug 30, 2013 Tiger Temple, Thailand: The Daily Mail reported that a 19 year old student had been assured by the monks at the Tiger Temple that it was perfectly safe to pet the tigers, but as she was petting one tiger another leaped across the arena and bit through her leg, leaving her unable to walk, even 8 weeks later when the story finally was discovered by the media. The young woman said the monks had been paying all of her bills, but they couldn’t buy her silence. She said it isn’t as safe as they tell you.
Aug 10, 2013 Patna Zoo, India: Mohammad Imran Khan, 22, barged into the Patna Zoo den of a lion named Vishal. He was saved from what looked like a certain death by zoo keeper Shatrughan Paswan who managed to divert attention of the animal and push it into a night shelter. Khan jumped into a moat in the enclosure, a fall of 12-13 feet, after scaling the wall. “It all happen in split of a second. The animal attacked him from behind, holding his neck and shoulder with its claws. He would have mauled the man to death had not keeper in charge showed presence of mind”, a witness said. The zoo director said it was a freak incident. “Patrolling parties make repeated rounds of the zoo ground on such crowded days. Still, crazy people have managed to do this kind of thing thrice earlier,” he said.
July 18, 2013 Belize, S.A.: A family trip to an animal “sanctuary” in Belize ended with the 10 year old autistic child being mauled by an Ocelot. His mother had subjected him, and his two siblings, to being leapt on by Jaguars in a close encounter offered by the pseudo sanctuary. It took 40 minutes for the family and zoo keepers to drive through the jungle to the hospital. The little boy was interviewed and said that all wild animals should be behind multiple barricades to avoid such incidents. No legitimate zoo or sanctuary allows public contact with exotic cats.
July 11, 2013 Reliant, TX: A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey tiger trainer was injured during a show at Reliant Stadium. Alexander Lacey was doing the double walk tiger trick. He was bleeding quite a bit, but Lacey continued with the show. Onsite paramedics examined Lacey following the end of his act. According to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show, Lacey is going to perform in Friday night’s show.
July 3, 2013 Pretoria, South Africa:
Lauren Fagen, 18, says she was kissing the fur of a male lion named Duma when he suddenly reached through the bars of his cage, grabbed her legs in and began mauling her at the Moholoholo animal rehabilitation centre in Pretoria, South Africa. She was walking next to the cage for a five-year-old male lion when he stuck his paws between the bars and grappled her. “My leg was through the bars into his enclosure… and I was in the feeding cage. He started biting my leg and scratching it, and I tried to push back with my other leg but somehow… he had both my legs up to my upper thigh inside the enclosure. The bars are quite close together so I couldn’t pull them out because at my knee it got stuck, and i could see him biting me and I thought I was going to lose both my legs,” she said.
Fagen said she remembers the male lion being quite affectionate with her and in a very good mood. A few minutes later, she noticed the lion was at the door to the feeding cage, and that’s when he grabbed the bottom of her leg and tried to pull her through the bars. A female lion approached and also began mauling her legs as well. The teenager said that’s when she was certain she was going to die. Other volunteers at the centre heard Fagen’s screams and ran to her rescue, fending off the lions with brooms. She was rushed to a hospital and treated for multiple lacerations to her legs and abdomen.
July 2, 2013 Turin, Italy: A 72 yr old zookeeper, Mauro Lagiard was mauled and eaten by his own tigers when he went to feed them. He was dragged 100ft while his 73 yr old wife watched. According to the Daily Mail, Police said his dismembered body was later found by the tigers’ water trough. He went in to the cage to give the tigers chicken meatballs on Tuesday night. However, the alpha-male of the pack, named Samir, went in for the kill, quickly followed by two others of the pack. Five recently born cubs watched the attack. The tigers dragged the zookeeper through the dirt to a clearing and tore him to pieces.
According to reports, the tiger that attacked first was his favorite, even though the same animal had attacked him before two years ago and caused him to spend eight months in hospital. Neighbors said the animals were malnourished and aggressive. The tigers were fed just twice a week. In 2010 large bills and dwindling numbers of tourists forced the closure of the zoo. The tigers are currently in the care of vets while their fate is decided. Samir is likely to be put down.
June 21, 2013 Anderson, IN: A 21 year old female employee named Marissa Dub was attacked by tiger at Joe Taft’s Exotic Feline Rescue Center. For cleaning purposes, the tiger was moved into a holding area. Officials report that the door to the holding area did not get shut all the way, allowing the tiger to bite and latch onto her head. Co workers distracted the tiger with food and retrieved Dub who was airlifted in critical condition to Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis.
June 20, 2013 Charlestown, IN: A woman got the shock of her life when she fired into the shadows, in an attempt to kill what she thought had been a bobcat, and discovered the cat she killed to be a 9 month old baby leopard. Tim Stark, a mile away, at Wildlife in Need, a backyard menagerie, said he had been setting traps to catch a leopard, but claimed it was because his neighbors asked him to do so.
June 19, 2013 Westtown, NY: A male, 30-35 pound serval was left outside the Dawn Animal Agency sanctuary entrance in a flimsy wire crate, and quickly escaped. He was on the loose for 3 days before being caught with a net while going for some food that was set out as a lure. The USDA is trying to track down the owner.
June 11, 2013 South Africa, Bloemfontein: Manie and Angelique Visser, from Brits, have been left seriously injured after apparently trying to play with a lion cub at the Ukutula Lion Park & Lodge. According to Manie they had fostered the lion, called Markus, since it was a cub of three weeks until it was eight months old when they returned it to the park last year. “We visited it every two or three months and we went again on Sunday. As Angelique was leaving, the lion rubbed against Angelique’s legs and then grabbed her leg,” Manie said.
He got hold of her calf and I tried to get his mouth open. He then turned on me and started biting. One of the park workers grabbed him by the tail and I was trying to push him away. The other worker hit him with a stick.” Manie said he had no idea how long the attack lasted. He sustained bite wounds to his legs, arms, hands, back and head. “The lion took a chunk out of my leg,” Angelique said.
The pair, who had recently bought the lion, were both admitted to hospital and had to have surgery. They had owned lions before and insisted they knew what they were doing.
June 04, 2013 Novosibirsk, Russia: A zookeeper at a zoo in western Siberia died Tuesday after a female jaguar mauled her, officials say. Police said the attack at the zoo in Novosibirsk occurred in an area of the enclosure the woman cleaning. A partition between the animal’s open-air enclosure and their indoor pen had been accidentally unlocked and the women entered an area occupied by a 5-year-old female jaguar and her 7-month-old cub, zoo director Rostislav Shilo said. The 48-year-old woman died instantly when the jaguar broke her back. The woman had worked at the zoo for two years.
May 25, 2013, Dalton-in-Furness, UK: A 24 yr old, female zoo worker, Sarah McClay, a long time staff member at South Lakes Wild Animal Park was mauled to death after apparently walking into the tiger cage. CEO, Mr Gill said Miss McClay had worked at the wildlife park for a number of years and was ‘very proficient’ in her work with big cats. He told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday: ‘After investigation by the authorities here and the police, it does seem that she just basically failed to follow the correct procedures. ‘For some unknown reason, an inexplicable reason, because there is no reason for why she did it, she opened the door and went into the tiger enclosure and straight into the tigers, and now we’ll never know why.’
April 20, 2013, Salina, KS: A circus tiger escaped during an Isus Shrine Circus show at the Salina Bicentennial Center. Initial reports indicated that the circus was trying to downplay the escape, saying no one even noticed, but that’s not what Jenna Krehbiel said. Krehbiel had finished watching the large cat show when she decided to step out into the hall and came face to face with the escaped tiger.
March 28, 2013 Montreal Canada: A zoo employee was mauled by a tiger at the Zoo Sauvage in St-Félicien, in the Lac St. Jean area. The male custodian was attacked by the female tiger and was very badly injured but conscious when the officers arrived. He is currently being treated in hospital and the tiger has been placed in isolation.
March 6, 2013 Fresno, CA: A 24 year old intern named Dianna Hanson was mauled to death while inside a cage with a four year old male lion named Cous Cous. The lion had been raised at the zoo since he was 8 weeks old. Another worker tried to distract the lion, to no avail, and the sheriff shot the cat to death, but it was too late for Dianna Hanson. The facility is called Project Survival Cat Haven and is run by Dale Anderson. On his website he says, “In the seventh grade a gentleman brought a Mountain Lion to my class… After that experience I wanted to have a cat of some kind at some later date.” This is why it is so bad to use wild animals as ego props, especially in the presence of children who will grow up to fulfill their desire to “be that guy,” even if it means dooming wild animals to life in cages.
February 2, 2013 Etchojoa, Sonora: Police say that Alexander Crispin, 35, died after being attacked by his tiger inside the Suarez circus tent. Crispin, who was originally from the United States and worked as a tiger tamer, was bitten on the neck by the enraged animal in the middle of the show. Crispin was taken by ambulance to the Red Cross hospital Huatabampo, Sonora where he died while receiving medical care, as a result of hypovolemic shock. Hysterical spectators ran out of the scene during the attack. It is believed that the tiger was killed during the struggle when beating him did not cause him to release Crispin.
Nov 23, 2012 Czech Liberac Zoo: A white tiger escaped from its enclosure at a Czech zoo and mauled three employees.
Nov 11, 2012 Skopje, Macedonia: Several hundred spectators got an unexpected shock at a circus in Macedonia after a lion broke through a safety enclosure during a performance. Spectators fled in panic when the lion charged through metal fencing at the Hungarian circus Safari. Children were crying and some women even fainted.
Sept 21, 2012 Bronx Zoo, NY: A 25 year old man jumped out of the monorail into the tiger exhibit where he was badly mauled by one of the tigers before zoo employees rescued him using fire extinguishers, zoo officials said. The man severely injured his leg and foot in the attack and also has deep cuts to the back. Once the tiger backed away, the man was instructed to roll under a hot wire to safety, said Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny.
August 26, 2012 Berlin, Germany: A 4 year old tiger named Altai escaped his cage at Cologne Zoo in western Germany and killed a 43 year old female keeper before being shot dead by the zoo’s director, police said. The tiger slipped through a passage between the enclosure and an adjacent storage building said police spokesman Stefan Kirchner, saying “It appears the gate wasn’t properly shut”
August 18, 2012 Cisarua, Bogor, West Java: A janitor at the Taman Safari Indonesia zoo identified as Junaedi, 32, was mauled to death by a tiger while busy trimming grass in the Sumatran tiger compound . Junaedi was not aware that the adult Sumatran tiger was stalking him. The tiger suddenly attacked Junaedi, who died instantly at the scene with wounds to his head, hands and legs.
July 30, 2012 Chile’s Santiago Metropolitan Zoo: A zookeeper, Jose Silva, who had more than 25 years experience with big cats, was mauled and seriously injured by a white tiger named Pampa, who was later killed. Pampa had arrived at the zoo seven years ago from Buenos Aires, and attacked the zookeeper both inside and outside the enclosure.
July 19, 2012 Nanping Jiufeng Mountain Zoo, China: A substitute zookeeper was mauled to death by a leopard when he opened the cage.
July 15, 2012 Tata Steel Zoo India: A man was mauled when entering the tiger cage at Tata Steel Zoo. Reports said that he was not stable and may have been there to steal the cubs or poison the cats.
July 12, 2012 Toronto, Canada: A declawed Mountain Lion who killed a dog may have been from nearby Guha’s Tiger and Lion Farm a backyard menagerie. Calls to Guha’s were not returned said The Star.
July 11, 2012 Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark: A 21 year old man was found dead in the tiger pit at the Copenhagen Zoo. It was unclear how or why the 21-year-old Afghan-born man had entered the Siberian tiger den, but investigators could not exclude suicide as a motive, police spokesman Lars Borg said. The man sustained multiple bite wounds to the throat, face, chest and a thigh.
May 29, 2012 Hernando County, FL: Charlie, a 275 lb mountain lion pushed the wall out of his cage, escaped and killed a neighbor’s dog. Video at Ch 10 News
May 23, 2012 Plano, TX: A bobcat has been filmed who is wearing a collar, and was obviously a pet, wandering around a Plano, TX neighborhood with her kittens. It is not known if she escaped, or if she was abandoned, nor is it known if she was pregnant at the time of release or if she has mated with native bobcats. What this does do is prove that bobcats should not be kept as pets and when they escape into the environment they can multiply. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing for bobcats in TX, except that most pet bobcats are the Northern varieties and thus the mixing of genes in the wild could threaten local varieties as the northern cats are usually much larger.
May 15, 2012 Hoedspruit, South Africa: In a pay to play scheme Madelein Querk, 28, visited the Tshukudu game lodge where she posed for pictures with the lion cubs. One cub bit her, leaving her with four deep cuts on her face, and lacerations on her left arm and leg, where the lion clawed her. Querk’s husband attempted to distract the lion by hitting it with his camera. The injured woman received 60 stitches at the Nelspruit Mediclinic.
May 4, 2012 Belleview, WA: Animal Control impounded a 13-year-old lynx that bit the girlfriend of a man who lived in the 1900 block of 160th Avenue Northeast area of Belleview. The Canada Lynx was impounded by the King County Animal Control. Big Cat Rescue contacted Animal Control asking that the lynx be released to their care rather than killed.
April 28, 2012 Port Elizabeth, South Africa: Two excited, supposedly tame cheetahs mauled a Scottish tourist in a petting area at the Kragga Kamma Game Park, forcing her to play dead to save her life. Violet D’Mello, who had just posed for a picture with the hand-reared cheetahs named Mark and Monty, tried to protect a seven-year-old boy. According to D’Mello, who was with her husband, Archibald, one of the animals first grabbed the leg of a visiting eight-year-old girl, leaving her with cuts and abrasions. When she was free, it appeared to run after her seven-year-old brother. D’Mellow was viciously knocked to the ground and attacked, proving that wild cats act on instinct and cannot be tamed.
March 2, 2012 Crocodylus Park, DarwinAustralia: A lioness mauled Peter Davidson, who runs hunting safaris in the Top End, called Arnhemland Hunting Safaris had been hired by Crocodylus Park to spray for weeds. It appeared he put his hand inside the animal’s cage. He said the nine-year-old lioness named Shebe grabbed Mr Davidson’s arm in her mouth. Prof Webb said Shebe had never harmed anybody and he was at a loss to explain why Mr Davidson put his hand in the enclosure. “We really need to talk to him. He was with the head keeper. She turned around and the next thing he yelled,” he said. He was sent to the Royal Darwin Hospital where he is in stable condition.
February 27, 2012 Loxahatchee, FL: After more than 5 years of non compliance with Florida’s wildlife possession laws, and a failed attempt as securing a federal permit, three big cats (2 tigers and a leopard) were confiscated from Steve Sipek. He was jailed during the confiscation to assure public safety and had been infamous for once playing a Spanish version of Tarzan and for the escape of a tiger named Bobo, who was shot to death while roaming the community of Loxahatchee.
February 15, 2012 Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa: A lioness attacked and mauled a 63-year-old zoo keeper to death at a farm owned by Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa. Joe Ramonetha, who had worked at the zoo for more than 40 years, died from a bite to the neck, zoo officials have said.
January 11, 2012 Bhubaneswar: Two days after a wild leopard strayed into Guwahati and mauled four persons, a lioness escaped from its enclosure in Nandankanan Zoo sending the animal park authorities into a tizzy. Multiple attempts to dart the lioness have failed.
January 4, 2012 Blagoveshchenski, Russia: A tiger at a roadside zoo attacked a three year old child who neurosurgery. Dmitry Serezhichev said the tiger was behind a barrier but that the parents put the child too close to the cage to take his picture.
December 27, 2011 China: In Hefei a female Siberian tiger escaped from a zoo and entered a public park so she was immediately put down by police on safety concerns. The nine-year-old tiger made her way out of the zoo after a zookeeper came to feed her but forgot to properly lock the cage. Zoo officials said the tiger had a bad temper, probably caused by mating anxiety. This was the latest incident in a string of cases involving tigers escaping from zoos in China over the past few years, according to local media reports. Most escaped tigers were put down by police if they were not caught. A Bengal tiger killed a zookeeper after escaping the cage in Shanghai last year.
November 28, 2011 Wynnewood, OK: In an expose on tiger cub abuse at malls, Inside Edition filmed an employee of G.W. Exotic Animal Park saying that just last month he was mauled by a six month old tiger and that “There was blood everywhere. It was a total, total mess!” The segment also showed children interacting with a sickly tiger cub who appeared to have ringworm, a highly contagious fungus.
November 9, 2011 Seattle, WA: A lion got out of its den at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, but it didn’t get far before it was tranquilized in a service building. The zoo says the 12-year-old female named Kalisa gained access to a hallway.
October 19, 2011 Zanesville, OH: 56 lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears escaped from a the Muskingum County Animal Farm, and the owner Terry Thompson, who had just gotten out of prison was found dead there after shooting himself. Neighbor Danielle White, whose father’s property abuts the animal preserve, said she didn’t see loose animals this time but did in 2006, when a lion escaped. Thompson, who lived on the property, had orangutans and chimps in his home, but those were still in their cages. 18 tigers, 17 lions and 3 cougars were shot to death because the owner had cut all of the doors off the cages to prevent their containment. A cougar is still at large. In the last six years, local authorities visited Thompson’s farm nearly 30 times in response to complaints about escaped animals, animal cruelty, and more. Police knew the rare animals were at a huge risk, but there was nothing they could do because OH does not ban the private possession of wild animals.
October 16, 2011 Odessa, TX: A 4-year-old boy was mauled by a pet mountain lion owned by his aunt. His mother and aunt refused to speak to the press and wanted to hide the attack. The boy received lacerations and puncture wounds on his left side, including a bite mark on the left side of his face during the attack in West Odessa, Sgt. Gary Duesler with the Ector County Sheriff’s Office said. Amber Michelle Couch, 9450 W. 26th St., who owned the mountain lion, was given a citation for not keeping up with the vaccines and was warned in July that the cage was too small and gaps where the cat could reach out too large, but had done nothing to correct the situation.
September 17, 2011 Wynnewood, OK: Again at Joe Schreibvogel’s G.W. Exotic Animal Park rather incredibly just a week later, there was another incident of a child being bitten by one of the cubs. If you go to the link you will see a child walk around behind the guide to a tiger cub while the guide is not paying attention. When the child screams the guide whirls and from what ensues and the conversation is it clear that the cub knocked the boy down and bit him on the leg. It is two minutes because it includes where the manager of G.W. Animal Park goes on to tell a story about being bitten by a full grown tiger. To appease the screaming child the manager then brings out a two week old cub which is far below the legal age for such public use. A complaint was filed with USDA and a citation issued on Dec. 5.
September 10, 2011 Wynnewood, OK: At Joe Schreibvogel’s G.W. Exotic Animal Park a child is bitten by one of the cubs being used in a pay-to-play scheme where the public pays to pet a lion or tiger cub. You can see the video at TigerCubAbuse.com. You will hear a tour guide who is off camera say that a girl was bitten by one of the cubs who were over the legal age, ranging from 15 to 20 weeks. (The only legal age in which contact is currently allowed is 8-12 weeks) A complaint was filed with USDA. A search of this page will show there have been numerous injuries by cubs from this facility who are bred and used to generate income at both the compound and at malls and fairs across the country.
August 12, 2011 Halifax Township, Dauphin County, PA: A Harrisburg woman in her twenties is recovering after being bitten by a tiger at the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park where she is a tour guide. Officials say she climbed over the fence, walked in between the tiger cages and was bitten when she reached in to pet the tigers. The woman told first responders she has pet the animals hundreds of times before. She was airlifted to the hospital and will require rehab to regain use of her arm.
July 26, 2011 Tyrone Township, MI: The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office said a Serval, an African wild cat, has been found in Tyrone Township. The cat may be sent to a zoo if the owner does not come forward.
July 21, 2011 Hugo, OK: Kelly Miller Circus, a sister circus of Carson & Barnes, had three tigers escape from their enclosure and injure a horse according to the Colorado News.
July 18, 2011 Bela-Bela, Limpopo: Finlay Holden, 5, was mauled by a six-month-old Bengal tiger that got hold of him at the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa near Bela-Bela in Limpopo. His mother, Claire Holden, said she, her 3-year-old daughter Hannah and Finlay went to look at the two tigers so they could pose with them for pictures. As Finlay stroked the back of one of the tigers it suddenly turned around and grabbed the boy’s head between its paws. “The animal’s mouth was wide open over his head,” said Holden. While Finlay yelled hysterically, “Mom, make it stop! Make it stop!”, she tried to pull the growling tiger off her son with her bare hands. nother tourist ran to the scene and began choking the tiger to make him let go of the terrified child. Holden said: “My child and I were covered in blood. My little daughter saw everything.”
July 18, 2011 Ajman, United Arab Emirates: Salem Al Sayed, the 2 year old girl’s father, said “Sarah accompanied my brother’s children and the maid to a neighbor’s house to play with the children there. Sarah went innocently towards the lion, which was in a cage which was not properly closed. The lion pounced on the girl and was about to bite her when the maid intervened and saved baby. Effects of the lion’s canines can be cured with time, but the psychological effects of the attack is difficult to heal, as my daughter still suffers from intense fear and starts screaming and crying at any loud sound.” He added “I call upon the concerned authorities to impose controls on breeding wild animals in the homes, this time my baby narrowly escaped death, but what will be the fate of others who may be exposed to similar incidents.”
July 17, 2011 Manchester, IA: The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says 52-year-old Tom Sellner suffered lacerations to his head and torso in the brutal tiger attack at Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester. The Des Moines Register wrote that Sellner and his wife ?are routinely bitten or clawed and that in this incident, the tiger had ripped the meat from the bone of his upper arm, had practically scalped him with front teeth the size of knife blades. His left ear dangled from his head. Sellner, who was found to be in violation of Iowa’s Dangerous Wild Animal law, was flown to an Iowa City hospital for treatment. The zoo’s website says it has more than 300 birds and animals, including tigers, African lions and other exotic cats.
July 10, 2011 Eynsford, England: The zoo has been in trouble with local authorities about their perimeter fence being inadequate. A bystander said, “The staff were jokingly describing that they were filming the cheetahs to prove to the local authority that they were friendly,” when one of the cheetahs attacked the two men who had gone in to film. Mr Cooper added: “The cheetah had taken quite a few bites and scratches from both the cameraman and the trainer, ripping the shorts off one in one close swipe of the paw. The two men managed to sit on the cheetahs head while another member of staff ran for a fire extinguisher. He was very lucky to escape with his life.”
July 8, 2011 Smolensk, Russia: Russian police said they would not be charging the owners of a circus where a leopardmauled a small girl, as the law failed to provide adequately for such an event. The incident took place in Smolensk, a city some 400 km to the southwest of Moscow. The leopard bit the girl’s thigh and scratched her shin before being restrained by circus staff. “Russian law does not provide any clear description of how to act with regard to wild animals, including in a circus, and does not state any punishment for the owner of an animal that attacks a person,” said Alexander Borovikov, a senior aide to the prosecutor for the Smolensk Region.
May 6, 2011 Wichita, KS: A first-grade student on a class field trip to a Wichita zoo was mauled by a leopard after climbing a railing and approaching the animal. Sedgwick County Zoo spokesman Jim Marlett says the boy climbed over the 4- to 5-foot railing and approached the Amur leopard. The leopard grabbed him around the head with both paws and tried to bite him. A woman on the zoo’s tram saw what was happening and spooked the leopard. The child suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to his head and neck. He was listed in fair condition. The boy’s age hasn’t been released. There were several school groups at the zoo including his group from Linwood Elementary.
January 31, 2011 Longview, WA: An illegally kept serval was found running loose near Pacific Way and Sunset Way after escaping roughly a week earlier from his owner’s home on Nevada Dr. Throughout the week, Rajah, an African serval, had been showing up on people’s backyard decks in the Columbia Heights area, startling neighbors who suspected he might be a cheetah, Humane Society Director Rick Johnson said. An animal control officer and local veterinarian caught it after setting a trap baited with cat food. Johnson said Rajah’s owner does not have permits to own the cat, and Humane Society officials are researching what permits the owners need to legally keep it.
If you want to bring children under the age of ten, this is the only tour available for your group. This is a complete guided tour where children of all ages and their parents can get up-close and learn about exotic cats and other animals.
Children under the age of 10 cost $19 each
Tour Time is noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
Geared toward children under 10 years old.
Privately guided small tour groups of 20 or less.
Tour is one hour long & children are expected to behave because this is a working sanctuary and the animals come first. Children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian and must behave respectfully toward the animals and others in the group. This is not a zoo where children will be allowed to scream and run wild, but a sanctuary where the animal’s needs always come first.
You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or schedule a photo tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phones and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.
Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended. You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.
“It’s one thing to go to Busch Gardens, it’s another to stand four feet from a tiger!” says one Kid’s Tour participant. Come with the whole family and visit Big Cat Rescue today to see your favorite felines in action!
What Is Not Included?
No strollers are available and our paths are earthen.
Be sure to read the following before booking your tour:
6/17/16 A new draft law passed by the United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council (FNC) has proposed a ban on the ownership of wild and exotic animals in the country. The law follows a ruling made in November 2014 by Sharjah’s ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, which prohibits people in the emirate from owning dangerous predators as pets. The ban on wild and exotic animal pets will aim to regulate the possession and trade of predatory and dangerous animals. The only places where such animals can be kept will include zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres. If seen in public with a leopard, cheetah or any other exotic animal, owners can face fines between Dhs 10,000 and Dhs 500,000.
4/21/16 The N.H. Fish and Game Department on Wednesday withdrew its proposal to re-establish a bobcat hunting season. In a 9-1 vote at the Statehouse on April 1, the legislative committee objected on the grounds that a bobcat season would violate the federal endangered species act and that the proposal was not in the financial best interest of the public. The money Fish and Game would have made from selling all 50 bobcat permits in its proposal totaled $5,000, while the cost to implement the hunting season was estimated to be between $15,000 and $20,000 per year.
Geoffrey Jones, chairman of the Stoddard Conservation Commission, said following the bobcat season proposal was an eye-opening experience for him in terms of how Fish and Game operates. “As we’ve all found out, people are pretty upset, and they’re not only upset about opening a season on a species that’s still in recovery, but I think people are upset about the process,” he said. Jones said he didn’t think the Fish and Game commission ever listened to people’s concerns.
Fish and Game received approximately 6,000 comments, with just about 250 in favor of the season, but voted to hunt bobcats anyway. Changes need to be made in how the department runs to represent the interests of all people, according to Jones. “We’re so relieved that New Hampshire’s bobcats and lynx are safe from hunters and trappers,” Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney and biologist, said. “At public expense, these bobcat seasons would have benefited only the few who’d like to kill these beautiful animals for sport or ship their pelts overseas to China for profit. The state heard loud and clear that people value these cats in the wild and don’t want to see them cruelly trapped or shot.
4/20/16 Florida is still working on changing their rules, but sent this letter to licensees:
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that newborn and infant nondomestic cats four weeks (28 days) of age or younger (neonate or neonatal) have special handling and husbandry needs. Please see the attached letter and Tech Note from APHIS regarding these requirements. Any question you have in regards to these new guidelines may be addressed to USDA’s office in Raleigh, North Carolina at 919-855-7100, or in Fort Collins, Colorado at 970-494-7478.
4/20/16 After the successful launch of The Jungle Book, Disney points to their policy of not using captive wild animals for their movies. “We’re not allowed to actually shoot exotic animals that are kept in captivity for movies. You can do cats and dogs, but you can’t do anything like a tiger or an elephant … you can never get them in a trained environment,” Rob Legato, a veteran visual effects artist who worked on Jungle Book, told a crowd at a panel during the National Association of Broadcast conference. The aforementioned policy outlines that Disney productions are, in general, not allowed to use exotic live animals outside of a zoo, sanctuary habitat or natural environment. It applies pretty much across the board — television or film productions, photo shoots, any media broadcast, special events — with only occasional exceptions, providing the said animal is not an ape or other large primate.
4/17/16 Jim Kellogg resigns from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, protesting the appointment of non hunters to the commission, and stated “I’m not willing to accept the changing world,” he said. “The animal rights people who don’t favor hunting and fishing have more horsepower than they did before.” The shift away from having a board that is only comprised of hunters, when less than 1% of CA’s population are hunters, started under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed commissioners who supported efforts to protect marine life off the California coast.
4/16/16 The California Fish and Game Commission denied a proposal by the California Trappers Association to repeal the bobcat trapping ban that was put in place last year. The commissioners* stayed firm in their decision to support the hard-fought bobcat trapping ban.
4/5/2016 USFWS announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since at least 2007 to rescind this loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Read more.
4/5/2016 Iran becomes the 9th country to ban animal acts in circuses.
4/3/2016 USDA cracks down on abuse of cubs under the age of four weeks. In response to a 2012 legal petition filed by The Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance making clear that exhibitors violate the Animal Welfare Act by allowing members of the public to handle or feed infant exotic cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars or leopards. Read more.
1/2016 Animal Planet cancels Yankee Jungle and announced that it would seek “to elevate the scientists” in its programming and cast its shows as more educational. “One day we just came in and looked at each other and said, ‘You know, no more bearded guys in the kitchen with f******g pigs running through the living room,'” David Zaslav, the head of Discovery Communications, which owns Animal Planet, told the Washington Post at the start of January. “Let’s get back to who we really are.” Rich Ross, a network exec recently told the New York Times that “we can get ratings by doing things the right way.”
2015 Big Cat Bans Enacted
11/3/15 WA voters on November 3, 2015 overwhelmingly approved Initiative Measure 1401, introducing state-level felony penalties for the purchase, sale, and/or distribution of products made from elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, sea turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays.
10/22/15 Elkhart, TX passes a ban on dangerous wild animals, including nonhuman primates, skunks, jaguars, leopards, lynxes, tigers, lions, panthers, bears, coyotes or any other carnivorous wild animal or reptile within the city limits or one mile of the city limits. This ordinance is retroactive with no grandfather clauses and that the fees are also retroactive as well.
9/25/15 Netherlands became the tenth country to officially ban the use of wild animals in the circus! The ban, which was drafted back in 2014, went into effect this week and includes big cats, elephants, giraffes, zebras, sea lions and primates.
9/15/2015 Missoula, MT is the first city in Montana to ban the use wild and exotic animals in shows and non-educational displays. The City Council approved the measure on an 8-3 vote, saying it was time to apply what “we know versus what we do” regarding the treatment of animals.
8/3/2015 “Effective immediately, Delta Airlines will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.” VICTORY!! Big Cat Rescue asked you to let Delta Airlines know that animal lovers do not want international airlines to continue to transport exotic animal trophies such as Cecil. More than 5,000 of you took action for the big cats!!! And today Delta has finally agreed. This is fantastic news for all endangered and threatened big cats and other animals being hunted across the globe. Its announcement came as a group of airlines including Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines and Qantas signaled last week they would ban the transport of trophy-hunting kills.
8/1/2015 Zimbabwean wildlife authorities say they have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area favored by hunters following the killing of Cecil the lion.
6/27/2015 Costa Rica just became the first country in Latin America to ban hunting for sport. Costa Rica’s Congress voted unanimously to approve the ban, which will protect the country’s wildlife – including several species of native big cats. Any hunters caught breaking the new law will face jail time or hefty fines.
3/14/2015 South Dakota became the final state (50th) to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty. These laws typically do not protect wild animals or farmed animals, but it’s a start.
3/5/15 Ringling announces that they will phase elephants out of their acts and we are all hoping tigers are phased out as well.
2/4/15 Hollywood Animals announces they are getting out of the big cat rental business because CGI has replaced their industry.
2/5/15 Asheville, North Carolina for banning circuses with wild animals! Read an article about it: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/02/04/asheville-animal-cruelty-circus-ban-us-cellular-center-elephant/22889259/
2/5/15 Graystone Ranch in GA surrenders their USDA license and gives their wild cats and other animals to sanctuaries citing that they are tired of the business.
2014 Big Cat Bans Enacted
New York Assembly bans public contact with big cats AND their cubs. “The purpose of this bill is to protect animal caretakers, those interacting with wild animals, bystanders, and the animals themselves by preventing direct contact between wild animals and members of the public,” the legislation reads. What is even more encouraging to animal lovers is the justification for the law:
“In New York and throughout the United States, several roadside zoo exhibitors and traveling menageries allow members of the public to hold, take photos with, and otherwise interact with wild animals in roadside zoos, fairgrounds, malls and other public areas. This activity severely harms the welfare of the animals, endangers the public, and is a heavy burden on law enforcement.
This activity also requires an ongoing supply of young animals. Infant animals are prematurely separated from their mothers to be groomed for human handling, often die due to constant handling and travel, and are even subjected to abusive training and painful declawing or deranging procedures in a futile attempt to make them safe for public contact once they mature. After the animals grow too big for handling, they are held on leashes with no protective barriers. Often they are dumped and sent to substandard facilities.
There is no safe or humane result when direct contact with wild animals is allowed. Other states, including Kansas; Mississippi, and Arizona, have strengthened existing laws to address public contact
NJ: Stafford Township is making it pretty clear it doesn’t want to deal with another “Rocky the Bobcat” situation in the future. The township council adopted an ordinance that would ban new exotic animals within the boundaries of the municipality. Residents who can prove they already owned exotics before the effective date of the ordinance are grandfathered.
Mexico bans wild animals in circus acts.
Citi joined Porsche and PetsMart in the growing list of influential corporations that have banned the use of wild animals at their events and in their advertising. Big Cat Rescue had contacted these organization and explained to them why it is so bad to use big cats cubs for photos and ego props and they took immediate action after hearing from our supporters.
WVA: 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. 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.
CA: Los Angeles bans bullhooks, which may only apply to elephants, but the circus can’t make elephants perform without the threat of injury, so hopefully this means that the circus won’t be coming to LA any more with their abusive lion and tiger acts either.
UK: Announced its soon-to-be official ban on ALL wild animals in circuses, joining other European nations like Austria, Greece, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ban is intended to be fully instituted starting in December 2015. Prior to the all-country ban announcement, over 200 UK local authorities had placed bans on animal circuses with over two-thirds banning all performing animals, according to Animal Defenders International. An official date for the legislation still needs to be passed but the government is confident that it will. When it does, anyone who breaks the law after December 2015 will receive a heavy $8,000 fine, according to the BBC.
2013 Big Cat Bans Enacted
Ft. Wayne, IN: Bears, wolves, lions, tigers, alligators, and venomous snakes are prohibited within the city limits of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
El Salvador joined Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru who have all prohibited the use of wild animals in circus acts.
EU: May 2013; the European Union’s interpretation of CITES was changed making it illegal to sell big cat claw jewelry.
Slovenia: Circus Animals Get A Break. Slovenia banned the use of wild animals in circuses, making it the fourth European Union nation to impose such a ban. In the United States, at least 55 communities have some ban or restriction in place on the use of animals in circuses or for elephant rides. In December, the City Commission of Hallandale Beach, Florida voted to ban bullhooks, bucking straps and other cruel devices used to train and dominate animals to perform tricks for entertainment. And the Los Angeles City Council will soon vote on an ordinance that would ban the use of elephants in traveling circuses, and also prohibit use of the bullhook.
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”, 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.
Ohio Bans Private Possession of Most Exotic Cats: On June 5, 2012 the state legislature banned the private possession of dangerous wild animals, including most exotic cats. Those who have the animals must register them but cannot buy or breed more. The only exemptions for breeding are AZA accredited zoos (and ZAA for now, but that needs to change) and sanctuaries that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries can continue to rescue wild animals. Up until now Ohio was second (behind FL) in the nation for the number of killings, maulings and escapes by big cats.
Oprah Announces No Fur in Her O Magazine: The October 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine announced its decision to never feature real fur in the magazine and only use cruelty free materials in its stories, including no leather or exotic skins. This decision was broadly embraced by the readership.
CA, West Hollywood Bans the Sale of Fur: West Hollywood, CA became the first city in the nation to ban the sale of fur. With a three to one vote (with one abstention) the City Council approved the ordinance. The rule faced opposition from the local Chamber of Commerce, whose main trade group, The Fur Information Council, happens to be based in West Hollywood. Nearly half of the 200 stores in town sell at least some fur items and it is estimated to account for approximately $2 million in revenue each year. The measure will take effect on Sept. 21, 2013.
NY, New York City Bars Ban Fur Clad Customers: Bar owner Johnny Barounis, a vegetarian, refuses to allow patrons wearing real fur to enter his trendy bards in Manhattan. His bards include Revision Lounge and Gallery in the East Village, the Back Room on the Lower East Side, and Auction House and Fetch, on the Upper East Side. “We tell people, you are welcome to come in, but the fur stays out” said Barounis.
Holland: The Holland Circus will no longer include wild animals in their shows. Here is a link to the dutch article: http://www.nu.nl/binnenland/2992728/circus-renz-stopt-met-wilde-dieren.html
UAE Ajman: Jan 2012 became the first emirate to ban the keeping of dangerous animals in private homes. Last July, a two-year-old girl was attacked by a lion cub in Ajman and had to be rescued by a maid.
Greece: Feb 3, 2012 The Greek Government has banned the use of all animals in circuses following a campaign by ADI and the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF), backed by over 50 local animal protection groups across Greece. The new animal protection law also addresses a number of important issues concerning stray animals.
Bogata, Columbia and Paraguay Ban Wild Animals in Circus Acts June 2012: Hot on the heels of the news last week that the Colombian capital Bogota is to ban all animals in circuses, Paraguay has announced a nationwide ban on wild animals in circuses. Animal Defenders Intenational (ADI) applauds Paraguay for becoming the latest country to ban the use of wild animals in circuses under Resolution 2002/12 passed this week by the Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente). Since ADI launched a major undercover investigation of animals in circuses in South America in 2007, a series of bans have swept across the continent as Governments have acted decisively to end the suffering of these animals. Bans are in place in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and now Paraguay. Legislation for a ban passed its second reading in Colombia earlier this year and legislation for a ban is well advanced in Brazil.
China July 20, 2012: Wildlife conservation and forestry departments of northeast China’s Heilongjiang province announced that visitors will soon not be allow to pay for pictures with Siberian tiger cubs in a tiger park. More at China Bans Cub Petting.
2011 Big Cat Bans Enacted
China, England, Sweden, Austria, Costa Rica, India, Finland, Bolivia, Greece 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!
Las Vegas, NV Dec 30, 2011: The MGM Grand announced that they are permanently closing the lion exhibit on Jan 31, 2012. Since 1999 it has had a constant rotation of 20 lions and cubs at a time who were provided by Keith Evans of The Cat House, who keeps 40 breeding lions in dog kennels on 7.5 ac in the nearby desert. Images of the site are those of barren, dilapidated, overcrowded cages. Evans claims to have been breeding lions for this purpose for the past 40 years which begs the question, “where all of these cats are now?” Evans claims he intends to keep breeding for the pay to play market, but it is hoped that when people see how these cats live, outside of the 9 million dollar MGM exhibit, they will not patronize such exploitation.
Canada, City of Toronto Sept 2011: The City of Toronto banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.
China Jan 20, 2011: Live animal shows and circuses are hugely popular in China, and draw around 150 million visitors a year at 700 zoos. However, thanks to people who have stood up for the animals, the Chinese government has banned animal circuses and warned its zoos they must stop abusing animals or face closure. The Ministry of Construction, who is the governmental agency overseeing the zoos, issued a declare on October 26th, 2010 to stop animal performance in all the zoos. The State Forestry Administration also banned live feeding in zoos and safari parks and is forcing zoos to stop selling animal parts in their shops. Zoo restaurants will have to stop serving dishes made out of rare animals and zoos will no longer be able to pull the teeth of baby tigers so that tourists can hold them and pose with them for photos.
NJ Dec 15, 2011 Thanks to the combined resources of Big Cat Rescue, Born Free, Tigers in America, WWF, Mark O’Donnell and Senator Lesniak, there was such overwhelming support for S3061 that it passed 37 to 0 ! It will go before the full Assembly next and we will alert you when to contact your Assembly members in NJ. This bill requires all NJ tiger owners to microchip, photograph and register their tigers with all of the acquisition and disposition of tigers to be reported and documented, as well.
OH Jan. 6, 2011 Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an executive order that prohibits keeping dangerous wild animals as pets. The rule bans new private ownership of big cats, bears, primates, alligators, crocodiles, and particularly large and dangerous constricting snakes and venomous snakes. Individuals who currently possess these animals and who have never had their licenses revoked may keep them, but they must register with the state and microchip the animals. They cannot replace them once they die or are relinquished. Unfortunately, the incoming Gov. Kasich refused to ratify the proposed law and it expired in April 2011. On Oct. 18 Terry Thompson released 56 lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bears and primates before committing suicide. All but 6 of the animals were shot to death by authorities.
FL Jun 3, 2011 Not a law, but a big win for the cats when the Chris Evert Tennis Classic confirmed that there are no plans to have any big cats around the tennis tournament or in the surrounding family activities areas.
UK Jun 23, 2011 MPs have defied the government and backed a ban on wild animals being used in circuses in England after a heated debate in Parliament. The motion is not binding on the government but will increase pressure on ministers to act over the issue. Downing Street said the government would “recognize the will of the House”.
An anti-wildlife rider in the committee bill funding the Interior Department was removed, thanks to an amendment offered on the floor by Reps. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, which was approved by a vote of 224-202 in July. The “extinction rider” would have prevented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing some of the most crucial sections of the Endangered Species Act, such as protecting any new species and designating critical habitat for currently listed species.
In June 2011 the board of directors for the American Zoological Association (AZA) formalized their 2008 ban on the breeding of white tigers, white lions or king cheetahs by their member zoos. Their report said, “Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single rare alleles (i.e., rare genetic traits) through intentional inbreeding, for example intentional breeding to achieve rare color-morphs such as white tigers, deer, and alligators, has been clearly linked with various abnormal, debilitating, and, at times, lethal, external and internal conditions and characteristics, which are outlined in this paper.”
2010 Big Cat Bans Enacted
Nationwide & Canada: Dade City’s Wild Things acquired a white tiger cub from G.W. Exotics, a notorious Oklahoma breeder, that they are marketing to the hilt in order to make money off her as quickly as possible. To accomplish that they dragged her into PetSmart to drum up some business. Almost 900 advocates responded to our alert and wrote to PetSmart demanding an end to displays of exotics like this, knowing the bad message it sends. We’re very pleased to share that PetSmart listened and immediately responded positively. According to corporate spokesperson Margie Wojciechowski at the Phoenix, AZ headquarters, she confirmed she had just come from a meeting and the company has “reinforced with our managers that no exotic pets are allowed on store premises. There will be no live display of exotic animals for events.” More Here
FL Sept. 1, 2010: The Florida Wildlife Commission passes final rules on the keeping of wild animals HERE
FL June 23, 2010: Thanks to thousands of letters from Big Cat AdvoCats the Florida Wildlife Commission agreed to change the wording of their Nuisance Wildlife rules so that bobcats who are trapped as nuisance wildlife may not be killed, but rather must be released. While our 2,000+ letters asked that bobcats be removed from the list of nuisance wildlife we are still thankful that the FWC has decided to at least spare the life of bobcats who are trapped this way. We will continue to educate the FWC and the public as to why bobcats are so necessary to our ecosystem so that they may soon be removed from the list of animals that may be trapped.
FL June 23, 2010:Animal AdvoCats vs Animal Terrorists. The FWC agreed to ban the practice of “fox penning” which was a blood sport in 16 locations in FL where foxes, coyotes and bobcats would trapped or purchased from trappers to be turned loose in fenced areas for the purpose of training hunting dogs. Packs of dogs would be turned loose in the pens and scored on how persist ant they were in chasing the wildlife. The FWC had rules that required hiding places for the wildlife, but investigators found that the operators would often block the access to the safety areas so that the foxes, coyotes and bobcats could be cornered and ripped apart by the dogs for the amazement and betting opportunities of the dog owners. For the first time in the history of the FWC meetings that we have attended since 1993 there were more animal advocates than animal terrorists in the room to testify. 52 concerned citizens spoke up in favor of a ban while only 20 animal abusers / hunters spoke up in favor of continuing the blood sport as part of their “cultural heritage and God given right.” As more of these egregious practices are exposed we expect the number of main stream Americans who show up and speak up to increase.
FL June 3, 2010: Thanks to thousands of letters from Big Cat AdvoCats the legislature amended Florida Statutes 379.374 Bond required, amount.
(2) No person, party, firm, association, or corporation shall possess or exhibit to the public either with or without charge or admission fee, any Class I wildlife, as defined in s. 379.303 and commission rule, without having first guaranteed financial responsibility, in the sum of $10,000, for any liability which may be incurred in the possession or exhibition to the public of Class I wildlife. The commission shall adopt, by rule, the methods of payment that satisfy the financial responsibility, which may include cash, the establishment of a trust fund, an irrevocable letter of credit, casualty insurance, a corporate guarantee, or any combination thereof, in the sum of $10,000 which shall be posted with the commission. In lieu of the $10,000 financial responsibility guarantee required in this subsection, the person, party, firm, association, or corporation has the option to maintain comprehensive general liability insurance, with minimum limits of $2 million per occurrence and $2 million annual aggregate, as shall protect the person, party, firm, association, or corporation from claims for damage for personal injury, including accidental death, as well as claims for property damage which may arise. Proof of such insurance shall be submitted to the commission. Effective July 1, 2010. In 2009 there were 111 Class I possessors in FL who managed to escape the bond requirement because they claimed they were not “exhibitors.” This new language was necessary to close the loophole in the 2007 law so that all “possessors” of Class I animals must post this minimal bond.
MO 2010: Large Carnivore Act (LCA): This law requires anyone who owns, breeds, possesses, or transports a large carnivore on or after January 1, 2012, to obtain a permit from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and to maintain a minimum of $250,000 in liability insurance. Verification of insurance must be provided annually. The LCA (Section 578.600 – 578.624 RSMO) includes the following protections for the animals;
Requires the Department of Agriculture to enforce the provisions of the Act to ensure that owners of such animals “practice best husbandry and health care protocols to ensure the humane and safe treatment of large carnivores on behalf of their physical well-being.”
Requires owners of large carnivores to provide their animals with adequate care and treatment, as established by USDA, in the areas of housing, handling, transportation, sanitation, nutrition, water, general husbandry, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperature.
Prohibits the issuance of a permit to own or possess a large carnivore to anyone who has “been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, a violation of any state or local law prohibiting neglect or mistreatment of any animal…”
Prohibits the issuance of a permit to anyone who has any type of felony conviction within the previous ten years.
OH July 1, 2010: A deal struck between The Humane Society of the United States, Ohio agriculture leaders and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio on a raft of issues to protect exotic, domestic and farmed animals. The agreement includes recommendations from all of the parties for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Care Board, the Legislature, and the Governor to ban the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.
2010 Worldwide Bans
China October 27, 2010: The Ministry of Housing & Urban/Rural Development suggested in an official web posting that zoos should adequately feed and house animals, should stop selling wild animal products and serving wild animal parts in restaurants, and should stop staging circus-like trained animal acts. The authorities report that zoos could be shut down for non compliance. This is the first step toward permanent laws to protect the animals.
Germany June 17, 2010: The zoo director and three of the staff at the Magdeburg Zoo were convicted of cruelty to animals for killing three tiger cubs who were the result of a cross breeding tigers at the zoo. The zoo had bred a Siberian tiger to a Sumatran tiger. All of the tigers in the U.S. that are referred to as Bengal tigers are actually hybrids of Bengal and Siberian tigers as the result of the white tiger craze when Bengal tigers were inbred to the point of non existence in America. A fine of 8,000 euros was suspended upon the condition that the zoo not kill cubs as the result of their own improper breeding plans. The Magdeburg zoo case drew attention to the common practice of zoos breeding and killing animals to keep youngsters on exhibit.
Russia November 29, 2010: Russia is now filing a bill for an exotic pet ban like other countries have passed. Despite Prime Minister Vladimir Putin having a pet tiger named Mashenka, the country is working on passing a bill that would restrict the ownership of monkeys, tigers, and crocodiles, because of their danger to the public and diseases they can carry, according to the bill that was submitted on Nov. 29, 2010
2009 Big Cat Bans Enacted
AL, Albertville 5/7/09: “People should be able to walk their neighborhood without fear,” Albertville police Chief Benny Womack. The ordinance approved unanimously by the council Monday covers “ any mammal, amphibian, reptile or fowl which is of a species which, due to size, vicious nature or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being, or property…” Womack said the law covers the manner in which animals are to be kept, the construction of pens and the requirement that they meet all zoning and building codes. The law governs the display of proper warning signs, which will be provided by the police department. All owners of animals included in the ordinance must register and obtain a permit for the animals, provide two color photographs and provide proof of a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance.
CA, South Tahoe 4/8/09: A ban on the retail sale of cats and dogs was approved to curb the resale of dogs and cats bred in mills. Breeders still can sell directly to people, and stores can work with rescue groups and shelters to have cats and dogs adopted at their businesses. “We understand that this is the first such ordinance in North America,” said Dawn Armstrong of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society & SPCA. “Others can now take courage. With the investigations and the work being done in Southern California and in other states, it just may be the beginning of the end of the puppy mill industry.”
FL, Clearwater: This rule was first discovered to be on the books in 2009, but it is unknown as to when it originated. Sec. 8.03. Keeping of certain animals prohibited. No animals, and in particular an animal which by its nature is wild and untamed, bees, reptiles, fowl or livestock, including horses, mules, cows, sheep, hogs or calves, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, shall be kept, harbored, raised or permitted to run at large on any property either public or private within the city limits of the city by any person. (Code 1980, § 91.03)
FL, Deland 5/11/09: Deland requires that all pet cats and dogs be sterilized to prevent unwanted litters from ending up in the county pound.
FL, Ft. Pierce 4/11/09: Pet owners who don’t spay and neuter their cats and dogs must pay a $75 annual fee to register and license the animals, while owners who sterilize their animals would pay $10 annually. The goal is to push people toward sterilizing their animals to limit the number of strays. Failure to comply the city’s ordinance could result in a $100 civil fine for the first offense, $200 for second offense and mandatory court for third offense.
FL, Lee County – Cape Coral 5/30/09: Lee County Animal Services is instituting a trap, neuter, and release program (or TNR) in hopes of controlling the feral cat population. A first for Lee County, the program was developed with help from the public as well as utilizing input from University of Florida. The TNR program hopes to put power into the hands of the public by offering education, traps, and assistance in catching cats.
FL, Ormand Beach 5/24/09: Mandatory sterilization of pet cats and dogs to prevent shelter deaths.
HI 5/18/09: Animals can be shielded by temporary restraining orders and will receive greater protection from pet hoarders after state lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation aimed at expanding and clarifying animal cruelty laws. Defines an animal hoarder as an individual found in possession of more than 15 dogs, cats or a combination of dogs and cats. The previous number was 20. The bill also clarifies the misdemeanor offense of depriving an animal of sustenance, including food, water and shelter. The bill is aimed at owners who obsessively collect animals and kennel them.
IN, Richmond 4/7/09: The Richmond Common Council passed proposed revisions to the city code regarding domestic and wild animal care and control in the city. Council voted 6-3 in favor of the proposed changes that had to do with care, trapping, breeding, controlled colonies of cats and free roaming animals.
MI, Cadillac 4/8/09: The new taxidermy laws make taxidermists dispose of all animal waste in a type two landfill. They must also keep more detailed records of animals they work on and keep the records for six years. Permit and tag fees are also going up.
MI, Manchester Village: April 20th the Manchester Village Council adopted a new ordinance regarding exotic and wild pets.
Village Ordinance 272, bans the owning or keeping of exotic animals in the community and was passed unanimously. “If you allow someone to keep an alligator in their homes and do nothing about it, how far can people go?” Village Mgr. Jeff Wallace said. “That’s why we tried to make it as specific as possible.” The general penalties for violation of the ordinance could include up to a $1,000 fine and possible 90 days in jail. Each violation is considered a separate offense.
MI, Rosemont 4/9/09: The city of Rosemont banned steel jawed traps after news reports of dogs being killed in them. This ban will help protect bobcats, lynx and domestic cats too.
OH, Perrysburg March 6, 2009:Pending ban. The law, as originally drafted, would allow police to criminally charge any
exotic pet owner. “It shall be unlawful for any person in the city of Perrysburg to keep, maintain, or have possession or control over any ‘exotic animal,'” the proposed law reads.
OR March 25, 2009:Pending ban. The Oregon Senate passed legislation 3/25/09 to protect exotic animals and phase out Oregon’s role in the permitting of exotic pets. Included under the new exotic-pets category are non-domestic cats, non-human primates, non-domestic dogs, crocodiles, and alligators. SB 391 will move the majority of the permitting process to the USDA and give current owners up to a year to renew their permit and then discontinue issuing permits after that date. “These animals pose a danger to our children, our domestic pets, and once cornered, our law enforcement officials don’t have the appropriate training to deal with them,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). “This is common sense legislation.” SB 391 also prohibits the breeding of exotic cats over 50lbs. The bill will now go move to the House for consideration. Wildlife Images director Dave Siddon could tell countless horror stories of wild animals, from lions to bears, adopted as cute babies then cast away after gaining several hundred pounds. “We probably are approached by a half-dozen people a month that have wild animals as a pet and they need a home for it,” said Siddon, whose father founded the animal rehabilitation center near Merlin. “Everything from bears to chinchillas and everything in between.”
PA Lebanon City Council June 3, 2009: Bans snakes larger than 4 1/2 feet long, reptiles over ten pounds and ALL exotic animals must be kept in their cages. Councilman Wiley Parker said fines range from $50 to $300.
SD 2/4/09: Hunting Mountain Lions With Dogs Banned.
Bill #: SB75 would have allowed dogs to be used in the hunting of mountain lions. Fortunately, this horrible bill failed in the Senate (6 Yeas, 27 Nays) See the vote here: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2009/RollCall.aspx?Vote=801
VT 8/28/09: Price Chopper pulled their sponsorship of the Champlain Valley Exposition when then learned that the fair was going to host a big cat act.
The Felid TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) publicly denounced the practice of keeping exotic cats as pets.
Australia, Adelaide Hills 5/28/09: The RSPCA says by-laws introduced by an Adelaide hills council to reduce cat numbers should be considered across the state. Owners will have to microchip and register cats under new laws. There will also be a limit of two cats per household. “However we do think the only permanent solution to controlling wild and domestic cat populations is desexing.” Meanwhile the Kangaroo Island Council will consider introducing a limit on the number of cats that can be kept on a property. The council introduced strict by-laws in 2005 that require compulsory desexing, micro chipping and registering of cats.
Australia, Ipswich, Queensland, 6/7/09: Ipswich bans circus animals. The ipswitch City Council has ruled exotic circus animals are a relic of a cruel past. On July 1 Ipswich will become the first Queensland city to ban circuses with exotic animals from using any land under council ownership or control. Councillor Paul Tully said the time had come for Australia to unite and ban the cruel use of circus animals. “These animals are put in tiny cages for their whole lives and carted from one end of Australia to the other for their public performances,” he said. “This is the beginning of the end of animal circuses in Australia.” The Brisbane council’s Labor opposition has said it too would support such a ban.
British Columbia 3/17/09: The tragic death two years ago of a woman killed by a caged tiger as children looked on helped spur the British Columbia government to implement new rules to ban dangerous pets says Environment Minister Barry Penner. 1,256 species that pose a serious threat to public safety, including leopards, lions, tigers, boa constrictors, pythons, monkeys, chimps and caimans have been banned. “We are determined to do something to improve public safety while also protecting these species from improperly being brought into British Columbia. The only effective way to prevent this abuse and neglect is through the introduction of regulations,” said Penner. Read quote by Rob Laidlaw, Director of Zoocheck Canada Inc.
Bahrain 4/11/09: Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security on the borders after inspectors found exotic wild animals caged in residential areas as pets. “Traders and buyers should understand that Bahrain is not the right environment for such species. It is illegal to keep them in these conditions and some wild animals, like tigers and crocodiles, endanger lives,” said Salman Abdulnabi, head of the Animal Wealth Directorate.
Bolivia, South America 6/2009: Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, signed Law 4040 — banning wild and domestic animals in traveling circuses throughout his country. This is the first national circus ban in South America and the world’s first ban on ALL circus acts. This victory was the culmination of years of work by Animal Defenders International (ADI), local animal protection groups and individuals throughout Bolivia.
South Africa 6/15/09: “Canned” lion hunting – the commercial shooting of captive-bred lions for trophies – appears to have been finally canned itself by a Bloemfontein High Court decision that requires all captive cats to live free for two years before they can be slaughtered. Now questions are being raised as to what will happen to the 4,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa. The head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Yolan Friedman, has applauded the decision which she said would effectively put an end to canned lion
hunting in South Africa. “We believe that the principles of ethical, humane treatment of all species should never be compromised for the economic enrichment of a few, as has been the case with canned lion hunting in South Africa,” she said. Friedman urged the government to begin a process immediately to avert “a welfare crisis” in which the country’s existing 4 000 captive-bred lions could “fall prey to neglect and cruel treatment” now that they had lost their economic value. “To these animals, whose lives so far have been nothing more than a caged existence to provide a trophy to an unethical hunter, their future remains uncertain,” she said.
Thorold, Ontario 12/8/09 passed exotic pet law banning ownership of primates (including apes), tigers, leopards, panthers, cougars, most reptiles, dangerous snakes, elephants, marine mammals, venomous snakes and some other wildlife not native to Canada. The law was passed after Jaguars were found to be kept as pets there.
2008 Big Cat Bans Enacted
CITES Decision 14.69:
Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall
implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only
to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and
derivatives. (Most of the tiger breeding in the U.S. is for photo booths and petting sessions. None of the breeding of generic tigers does anything to conserve wild tigers. Ask your lawmakers to uphold this CITES decision and end the breeding of tigers outside of the Species Survival Plans in AZA accredited zoos.)
Brazil: 12/11/08 After ongoing efforts by many animal organizations an animal group in Brazil has successfully lobbied and a law has been passed banning all animals in circuses there.
Iberville, LA: Referring back to a law that has been on Iberville Parish’s books since 1993, the LA Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. finally banned the notorious Tiger Truck Stop from using live tigers as a public display. This ends a sad history of 21 years of tigers in small concrete cages in the middle of this busy truck stop, with the exception of Tony the truck stop tiger who was grand fathered in and continues to pace in his small, dank cage right next to the gas pumps where truckers frequent 24/7. When Tony is gone, they will not be allowed, under the new law, to display another tiger.
Johor, Malaysia Bans ALL Commercial Hunting: The Johor government banned all forms of commercial hunting. Johor is home to the Endau-Rompin National Park, the second largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia. The state will lose some money in licensing fees — in 2006, it issued more than 2,000 hunting licenses — but that pales into insignificance when compared with the benefits of such a move. Johor wants to save the tiger. The ban would also help the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to collect data, train staff and curb wildlife crime. Classified as an endangered species, the tiger is fully protected. But its food is not. The ban should ensure that the population of animals that the tiger preys on — such as wild boar and deer — will increase. If the tigers have sufficient food, they are also unlikely to wander into areas with human habitation.
Australia: August 3, 2008 Environment Minister Peter Garrett immediately banned the import of Savannah cats into Australia upon learning they were a cross between a Serval and domestic cat. He said the Savannah cat posed “an extreme threat to Australia’s native wildlife”.
MO: Effective March 2008 MO Wildlife Code changed as follows:
Because of the inherent danger and potential liability associated with the possession of bears, mountain lions, wolves and their hybrids, the Conservation Commission now requires owners of these animals to identify each individual with a microchip embedded under the animal’s skin. The owners must also submit a blood or tissue sample for DNA analysis. All animals must be registered with the Department when acquired, born, at death, or when sold. This will aid enforcement of illegal sales of these animals and will help Department biologists distinguish escaped and released captives from wild animals. MO Conservationist magazine Feb. issue at firstname.lastname@example.org where Wildlife Code book for 2008 has been released.
Sheriff Kevin T. Harrison asks county to ban private possession of dangerous exotics HERE
December 11, 2008 Park Hills, MO bans most exotic animals, except small monkeys, within the city limits.
OK: 5/7/08 Gov. Henry signed Senate Bill 1463 into law last week. Sen. James A. Williamson (R-Tulsa) introduced the legislation which prohibits the use of computer-assisted remote control hunting of wildlife. The bill also makes it illegal to engage in, sell, offer for sale, assist in or provide facilities for computer-assisted remote control hunting. Thirty-eight states prohibit Internet hunting, and a federal bill introduced in the U.S. Congress – S. 2422 and H.R. 2711, the Computer- Assisted Remote Hunting Act – would end Internet hunting nationwide.
UT: Internet Hunting Banned. Gov. Huntsman signed Senate Bill 164 into law. Sen. Michael Waddoups (R-6th) introduced the legislation which prohibits the use of a computer or other device to remotely hunt an animal.37 states now prohibit Internet hunting, and a federal bill introduced in the U.S. Congress – S. 2422 and H.R. 2711, the Computer- Assisted Remote Hunting Act – would end Internet hunting nationwide.
Thanks to all of you who wrote letters, attended town hall meetings and met with your lawmakers, the world is a little kinder place. Many of the worst breeders, dealers and tiger-tamer-wanabees were finally shut down. 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: Wild Things’ land owned by Kathy Stearns went into foreclosure and bankruptcy.
FL: Amazing Exotics appears to have been 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.
IN: Great Cats of Indiana, formerly known as Cougar Valley Farms, Inc., owned by Robert B. Craig and Laura Proper came under investigation by USDA
IN: Ervin’s Jungle Wonders owned by Ervin Hall was shut down by USDA for a three year term.
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.
OH: Pearson’s L & L Exotics owned by Lorenzo Pearson was shut down by USDA following six years of violations.
TX: Zoo Dynamics, owned by Marcus Cook was fined $100,000.00
Australia: Craig Bush, the “Lion Man” was ousted from the Zion Wildlife Gardens by his mom.
2007 Private Possession of Dangerous Exotics Banned
FL: 6/29/07 Governor Crist, the people’s governor, signed into law SB2766 a bill to regulate the possession of reptiles, but more importantly, included the requirement for a $10,000 bond to be posted by anyone exhibiting a Class I animal, which currently includes, lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars and by 2008 is expected to include cougars. On 12/6/07 the FWC drafted rules to implement the new law. More HERE
8/10/07 The Captive Wild Animal Technical Assistance Group made their recommendations to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission staff and you can read that HERE On 12/6/07 the FWC announced that by mid 2008 they will address such issues as: Neighbor notification in the event of an escape, neighbor notification before bringing dangerous wild animals into an area to live, re classifying the cougar from a pet to a Class I animal, public contact, defining sanctuaries, defining what constitutes a commercial use to crack down on Class I animals that are owned as pets under the guise of being a business, ending Internet hunting and transportation of dangerous animals.
IA: 5/17/07 Iowa bans Internet Hunting and on 5/27/07 Iowa made it illegal for a person to privately own or possess a dangerous wild animal and it is now illegal to breed or transport them into Iowa. Exotic pet owners won’t have to give up their pets because the bill doesn’t apply to animals currently owned by Iowans. However, the bill requires owners to register their dangerous wild animal. The animals must be listed with the state an electronic identification device must be attached or embedded into the animal.
IL: 5/25/07 The Illinois governor signed into law a bill banning the practice of killing live animals over the Internet.
KY, Eddyville: 2/16/07 Eddyville City Council adopted an exotic animal ordinance at a special meeting Monday night. The ordinance outlaws owning any exotic animal in the city. Prohibited animals include snakes, big cats such as lions, tigers or leopards,
elephants, venomous rear-fanged species, alligators and gorillas as well as several other specifically named animals. The ordinance does not apply to any zoological garden accredited by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, licensed theatrical exhibits, carnivals or circuses or any authorized wildlife rehabilitator or licensed veterinary hospital. Violators will be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, plus legal costs and attorney fees incurred by the city. The purpose of the ordinance is “to promote the public health, safety and general welfare” of city residents.
LA: 7/11/07 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enacted regulations that prohibit private possession of lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, cougars and their hybrids as pets. People who legally had these animals as of August 15, 2006, when a state law requiring regulation of the animals took effect, can keep them but not breed or replace them. They must apply for permits and meet standards for cages, insurance, and microchips. The animals must be kept in safe and sanitary conditions. They cannot be taken from the premises except to receive medical care.
NY: 6/13/07 Assembly Bill 2612 and Senate Bill 784 passed by 2 to 1 margin to prohibit the taking of non-native big game mammals in fenced or other areas from which there is no means for such mammals to escape. This landmark legislation ends the unethical shooting of exotic animals held captive in fenced enclosures, otherwise known as “canned shoots” in New York.
SC, Chester County 3/19/07 passed an exotic animal ban. Because SC has no state wide ban in place, many counties have passed their own ordinances either banning or strictly regulating exotic animal ownership. York County has an ordinance banning exotic animals. Lancaster County has banned them as well, as has Fairfield County. Lexington County outside Columbia has a ban, as does the town of Mount Pleasant. Beaufort County has a ban as well. Lexington County’s ordinance is just one page. It lists several types of “exotic animals” from lions and tigers and other big cats, to reptiles, bears, elephants and gorillas. Lancaster County’s ordinance bans exotic animals, saying “no person, firm or corporation shall keep or permit to be kept on their premises any exotic animal as a
pet for display or for exhibition purposes.” More…
TX, Kaufman County: 3/22/07 Owners of lions and tigers and bears can forget about moving to Kaufman County. County commissioners voted 3-1 Monday to allow the five known owners of exotic animals in the county to continue keeping the animals but banned any others. Commissioner Jim Deller cast the lone “no” vote. He wanted a complete ban. “I don’t want to see those kinds of animals in the county if we can prevent it,” Mr. Deller said. “All the counties around us have banned them, except for zoos.” A “dangerous wild animal” law that the Legislature passed in 2001 gave counties the choice of banning the animals or registering them. The vast majority of counties banned the listed animals, including exotic cats, bears, coyotes, baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The five entities granted the ability to continue their operations included Castle’s Bears, owned and operated by James Hall; Terranova Enterprises, owned and operated by Doug Terranova; PrideRock Wildlife Refuge; Zoo Dynamics, operated by Marcus Cook; and Corey and Beth Junell. With the vote, commissioners effectively joined surrounding counties such as Ellis, Dallas, Collin and Van Zandt in banning such animals. Zoo Dynamics, in a separate decision by the State’s Attorney’s office, was forced to give up his non profit status and fined 10,000, with a subsequent fine of 100,000 if found guilty of illegally soliciting donations again.
TX, Lake Jackson: 2/7/07 voted to deny a proposed exhibit by Wynnewood, Okla.-based G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park at Brazos Mall. A PeTA investigation conducted last year at GW documented dead, dying, and injured animals; a serious lack of basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care; cramped cages; and untrained, insufficient staff who were intentionally cruel to animals. PETA’s investigator witnessed a suffering lion whose leg had been torn off by tigers and tigers who were hit with a rifle butt. Two healthy adult tigers were killed, and their teeth were reportedly cut out to be given away as gifts. In January 2006, GW was placed on an 18-month probation and paid a $25,000 fine to settle U.S. Department of Agriculture charges that included dangerous animal-handling practices, filthy transport conditions, and failure to provide drinking water.
UT, American Fork: Banned the keeping of exotic animals, such as lions, tigers, bears, porcupines and pythons, which are not allowed in the city except in circuses, laboratory experiments, zoos and a few other facilities. The city chose to do this BEFORE it became a problem.
WA: In April 2007 HB 1418 was passed and will be enforced as of July 2007 that bans the possession, breeding and contact with all big cats including cougars and cheetahs. AZA zoos and sanctuaries that fit their description are exempt. More HERE
WI, Mayville: 2/13/07 Mayville, WI passed an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping wild and exotic animals. The Common Council voted 5 to 1 to approve the wild and exotic animal ordinance after adding two amendments regarding exceptions. They are municipal zoos or those accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and traveling or fair exhibitions and petting zoos licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act and by the USDA.
USDA Actions: On April 6, 2007 the USDA finally, permanently revoked the license of Lorenzo Pearson of L & L Exotics. More HERE.
8-12 Window inadvertently created: USDA adopted a policy stating the baby big cats under the age of 8 weeks and (by some inspector’s interpretations) over the age of 12 weeks could not be handled by the public. They also define a big cat as lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cougars, cheetahs, and any hybrids thereof. Because many places will make you a volunteer for the day to circumvent the rule that prohibits contact with big cats by the public, USDA has defined what is and is not considered a member of the public. Public feeding of big cats has been barred as well, with the exception of a process by which food is sent down a chute, past an external barricade. More HERE.
USDI Actions: The USDI finally rendered their final rules to enforce the Captive Wild Animal Safety Act which became law in 2003 but has been unenforceable for the past 4 years due to the government’s failure to draft these rules. Read the Captive Wild Animal Safety Rules here.
CITES met in June 2007 and upheld a ban on the trade in bobcat fur and all 171 countries railed against China’s proposal to farm
tigers for their parts because the legal trade would be the death blow to the wild populations since it is much cheaper to poach a tiger than farm one.
VANCOUVER, B.C. 2/3/07:Vancouver City Council has unanimously passed a motion banning people from keeping certain exotic
and wild animals as pets and banning businesses from selling them. They’ve also requested Mayor Sam Sullivan write a letter to the Union of BC Municipalities to consider a Province-wide ban. Banned animals include such creatures as bears, large constrictor snakes, hyenas and alligators. Businesses will be prohibited from selling everything from elephants and birds of prey to venomous insects. Council has also approved banning the use of exotic and wild animals in performances and shows. Read it here…
Ontario Canada: 2/14/07 Huntville council upheld a ban on dangerous exotic animals.
The Jewish Community 2/28/07 speaks out against wearing fur. “Jews must not wear fur skinned from live animals,” Israel’s chief rabbi said in a religious ruling on Tuesday. “All Jews are obliged to prevent the horrible phenomenon of cruelty to animals and be a ‘light onto nations’ by refusing to use products that originate from acts which cause such suffering,” Rabbi Yona Metzger said.
Europe: On 10th October 2007, 25 Non-Governmental Organizations representing 20 European countries, together with Members of the European Parliament and officials from the European Commission, attended a Reception at the European Parliament in support of animal welfare. The event saw the launch of an initiative to seek greater protection for wild animals kept in captivity in Europe at both a national and, where appropriate, pan-European level through enhancing the animals welfare provisions in the EC Treaty.
UK: November 21, 2007 an amendment to the Conservation Natural Habitats Regulations declared it is illegal to possess certain exotic animals, including the Wild Cat without a permit from Natural England, an agency that is not inclined to grant licenses to private individual animal keepers and who’s stringent licensing criteria are unlikely be met by most keepers.
2007 Circus Bans
Circus Bans: Bans on circus that use wild animals have been enacted in a number of North American cities, (28 as of June of 2007) including Stamford, CT; Boulder, CO and Burlington, VT. Bans are pending in the state of CT and in Minneapolis, MN. Prince George, B.C. 4/30/07 bans performances using exotic animals and joins 20 other B.C. communities with similar bans. Austria and 100+ cities in England alone already ban the use of wild animals in circus acts.
Croatia: 1/1/07 The new Croatian Animal Protection Act prohibits the use of wild animals in entertainment, such as circuses or other animal shows. Croatian authorities announced plans to ban holding of dolphin species in captivity, bringing Croatia closer to
a complete legal ban on dolphin capture.
Taiwan Bans Circus Animal Imports: 6/15/07 Importation and Exportation of protected animals including lions and tigers for circus acts is prohibited with fines up to $50.000. “The performances are negative education on environmental conservation. Personal pleasure must not be built on the suffering of other animals,” officials said.
Circus elephants get their day in court to establish what constitutes mistreatment of animals. See ASPCA & API vs Ringling. As of December 2008 this case still has not been heard.
2007 Hunting Bans
AK: Governor Sarah Palin signed House Bill 220 into law this week. Representative Bob Buch (D-27th) introduced the legislation which prohibits any person from engaging in or operating computer-assisted remote hunting in the state.
MA: Senate Bill 2273 (formerly S.B. 860 and S.D. 1452), introduced by Senator Robert Creedon, Jr. (D-2nd), makes it illegal to participate in or facilitate the killing of an animal via the Internet. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law 8/3/07.
NE: Legislative Bill 504, introduced by Senator Mick Mines (District 18), makes it a Class II misdemeanor to hunt through the Internet.
OR: Oregon passed a law based on Senate Bill 490 to ban the killing of live animals over the Internet. 34 states, including Texas, now ban the practice. Florida still allows this inhumane practice of shooting a live animal over the Internet. Oregon also passed Senate bill 572 to ban all canned hunts. The vote was 22 to 5. Fencing exotic mammals, feeding them by hand, and then shooting them, said Democratic co-sponsor Sen. Ryan Deckert, “is not Oregon.” California, Wyoming and Wisconsin already prohibit canned hunts. A Federal bill, HR 2711, to ban Internet killing was introduced in June of 2007.
2007 Other Good News for Big Cats
President Bush reauthorized the 1994 Conservation Act to protect African Elephants, Rhinos and Tigers.
2005-2007 Big Cat Bans Enacted
Just since 2005, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland & Washington have passed legislation banning the ownership of certain dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, bears, wolves and primates, leaving only 11 states with virtually no regulations whatsoever.
In 2006 60 state bills were passed to protect animals of all types and 11 bills that would have harmed animals were defeated.
Between 2001 and 2006 the number of hunters in the U.S. decreased by 4%. Now only 5% (12.5 million people over the age of 16) are hunters. During the same time, the number of wildlife watchers, feeders and enthusiasts rose 8%.
FAMILY MEMBER: Kristi Stanton poses with a picture of her ball python, Saphire, Monday evening after making an unsuccessful request to council for an exemption to its new exotic pets bylaw. Huntsville council turned down two applications for exemptions to its new exotic pets bylaw Monday night. Kristi Stanton and Chris Chapman made deputations to council requesting a bylaw exemption for their ball python and two cougars respectively. Since the bylaw took effect in November, both Stanton’s snake and Chapman’s cougars have been living outside of the municipality. “Obviously, it is a regulation that hasn’t been in place very long and I, on a personal basis, understand your attachment to your animals and the difficulty that this particular bylaw poses to you. Council has to balance that against the greater risk [these animals pose to the general public],” said Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty.
Chapman, who had been looking after the two cougars since they were babies, told council that domestic dogs are “more dangerous on average” than cougars. “Very seldom do captive cats do any harm to anybody. We have everything in place to secure homes for them. We are just asking for the OK from council,” said Chapman, who noted the close bond that had formed between himself and the cats. “To me, they are friendly cuddly kitties, but I know a lot of people don’t share that [view].” Prior to the bylaw passing, Chapman told council he had contacted Town officials, who told him that a grandfather clause, which would allow him to keep his cougars, might apply when the legislation passed.
However, according to Sara Brown, the Town’s director of physical services, the Town can opt to grant a grandfather exemption but is not required to do so. Stanton, whose ball python Saphire currently resides with a friend, told council that she thought not enough background information was gathered for the bylaw’s creation. “I almost feel like not enough research was done on the sub-species of boas and pythons,” Stanton told council. “I am confused how you can still own a corn snake or a rat snake which can grow significantly bigger than a ball python and it eats exactly the same things.”
Despite this, Town staff and councillors continued to question the safety risks exotic animals kept as pets posed to the public at large. “The rationale behind any kind of bylaw like this is not to protect someone like yourself, who may be a responsible kind of individual with this kind of animal, but more to protect somebody who may not be responsible,” said councillor Brian Thompson. Councillor Bill Beatty told council he felt that although owners may be comfortable housing their exotic pets, the animals could pose a great risk to safety officials in the case of a fire. “One of the other issues I brought up and I got a nod and a wink, so to speak, from the fire chief was the concern if in fact there was a fire in that building or some incident where you had firefighters crawling around in the dark, the last thing you want to do with a snake or anything is have it bite you on the head as you knock the cage over.”
Washington Senate passes House bill to ban private possession of dangerous exotic animals
April 4, 2007
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Animal Protection Institute (API) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) commend the Washington state Senate for passing HB 1418, the “Dangerous Wild Animal Bill,” after seven years of debate. The two groups are co-sponsors of HB 1418, which prohibits the private possession of dangerous exotic animals such as cougars, tigers, bears, monkeys,
and dangerous reptiles.
“Washington is one of only 11 states with no laws regulating the private ownership of dangerous wild animals,” says Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal & Government Affairs for API. “Passage of this bill will put Washington state at the forefront of nationwide progressive animal legislation by boasting one of the best state laws in the country.”
“Today’s action by Washington lawmakers will protect public safety and the welfare of the animals,” says Jennifer Hillman, Washington State Government Affairs Coordinator for The HSUS. “Over the past seven years, incidents in Washington have ranged from attacks on people to abandonment of animals when owners can no longer care for them. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in basements or makeshift cages in people’s backyards.”
A recent investigation conducted by API examined both private owners and federally licensed facilities in Washington state and documented stories of serious, unreported attacks by animals; people, including children, being allowed direct contact with dangerous animals at USDA-licensed facilities, a violation of federal law; poor animal care conditions; and inadequate and unsafe barriers.
“We applaud the Washington state Senate for taking a strong stand on this issue and hope to see the state serve as a role model of progressive legislation other states will follow,” adds Paquette. Note: DVD b-roll and still images of exotic animals in Washington State available for download; email email@example.com
I, Richard Nafziger, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is HOUSE BILL 1418 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
Approved April 30, 2007, 2:12 p.m.
Governor of the State of Washington
April 30, 2007
Secretary of State
State of Washington
HOUSE BILL 1418
AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE
Passed Legislature – 2007 Regular Session
State of Washington 60th Legislature 2007 Regular Session
By Representatives Lovick, Campbell, Lantz, O’Brien, Upthegrove and
Read first time 01/18/2007. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
1 AN ACT Relating to the keeping of dangerous wild animals; adding a
2 new chapter to Title 16 RCW; and prescribing penalties.
3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
4 NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. It is the intent of the state of Washington
5 to protect the public against the serious health and safety risks that
6 dangerous wild animals pose to the community.
7 NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. (1) “Animal control authority” means an
8 entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units
9 for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county, and
10 state and the shelter and welfare of animals.
11 (2) “Potentially dangerous wild animal” means one of the following
12 types of animals, whether bred in the wild or in captivity, and any or
13 all hybrids thereof:
14 (a) Class mammalia
15 (i) Order carnivora
16 (A) Family felidae, only lions, tigers, captive-bred cougars,
17 jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, snow leopards, and clouded leopards;
18 (B) Family canidae, wolves, excluding wolf-hybrids;
p. 1 HB 1418.SL
1 (C) Family ursidae, all bears;
2 (D) Family hyaenidae, such as hyenas;
3 (ii) Order perissodactyla, only rhinoceroses;
4 (iii) Order primates, all nonhuman primate species;
5 (iv) Order proboscidae, all elephants species;
6 (b) Class reptilia
7 (i) Order squamata
8 (A) Family atractaspidae, all species;
9 (B) Family colubridae, only dispholidus typus;
10 (C) Family elapidae, all species, such as cobras, mambas, kraits,
11 coral snakes, and Australian tiger snakes;
12 (D) Family hydrophiidae, all species, such as sea snakes;
13 (E) Family varanidae, only water monitors and crocodile monitors;
14 (F) Family viperidae, all species, such as rattlesnakes,
15 cottonmouths, bushmasters, puff adders, and gaboon vipers;
16 (ii) Order crocodilia, all species, such as crocodiles, alligators,
17 caimans, and gavials.
18 (3) “Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation,
19 organization, trade or professional association, firm, limited
20 liability company, joint venture, association, trust, estate, or any
21 other legal entity, and any officer, member, shareholder, director,
22 employee, agent, or representative thereof.
23 (4) “Possessor” means any person who owns, possesses, keeps,
24 harbors, brings into the state, or has custody or control of a
25 potentially dangerous wild animal.
26 (5) “Wildlife sanctuary” means a nonprofit organization, as
27 described in RCW 84.36.800, that cares for animals defined as
28 potentially dangerous and:
29 (a) No activity that is not inherent to the animal’s nature,
30 natural conduct, or the animal in its natural habitat is conducted;
31 (b) No commercial activity involving an animal occurs including,
32 but not limited to, the sale of or trade in animals, animal parts,
33 animal byproducts, or animal offspring, or the sale of photographic
34 opportunities involving an animal, or the use of an animal for any type
35 of entertainment purpose;
36 (c) No unescorted public visitations or direct contact between the
37 public and an animal; or
38 (d) No breeding of animals occurs in the facility.
HB 1418.SL p. 2
1 NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) The provisions of this chapter do not
2 apply to:
3 (a) Institutions authorized by the Washington department of fish
4 and wildlife to hold, possess, and propagate deleterious exotic
5 wildlife pursuant to RCW 77.12.047;
6 (b) Institutions accredited or certified by the American zoo and
7 aquarium association or a facility with a current signed memorandum of
8 participation with an association of zoos and aquariums species
11 such as humane societies and shelters, housing an animal at the written
12 request of the animal control authority or acting under the authority
13 of this chapter;
14 (d) Animal control authority, law enforcement officers, or county
15 sheriffs acting under the authority of this chapter;
16 (e) Veterinary hospitals or clinics;
17 (f) A holder of a valid wildlife rehabilitation permit issued by
18 the Washington department of fish and wildlife;
19 (g) Any wildlife sanctuary as defined under section 2(5) of this
21 (h) A research facility as defined by the animal welfare act, 7
22 U.S.C.A. 2131, as amended, for the species of animals for which they
23 are registered. This includes but is not limited to universities,
24 colleges, and laboratories holding a valid class R license under the
25 animal welfare act;
26 (i) Circuses, defined as incorporated, class C licensees under the
27 animal welfare act, 7 U.S.C.A. 2131, as amended, that are temporarily
28 in this state, and that offer performances by live animals, clowns, and
29 acrobats for public entertainment;
30 (j) A person temporarily transporting and displaying a potentially
31 dangerous wild animal through the state if the transit time is not more
32 than twenty-one days and the animal is at all times maintained within
33 a confinement sufficient to prevent the animal from escaping;
34 (k) Domesticated animals subject to this title or native wildlife
35 subject to Title 77 RCW;
36 (l) A person displaying animals at a fair approved by the
37 Washington department of agriculture pursuant to chapter 15.76 or 36.37
38 RCW; and
p. 3 HB 1418.SL
1 (m) A game farm meeting the requirements of WAC 232-12-027(1).
2 (2) This chapter does not require a city or county that does not
3 have an animal control authority to create that office.
4 NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) A person shall not own, possess, keep,
5 harbor, bring into the state, or have custody or control of a
6 potentially dangerous wild animal, except as provided in subsection (3)
7 of this section.
8 (2) A person shall not breed a potentially dangerous wild animal.
9 (3) A person in legal possession of a potentially dangerous wild
10 animal prior to the effective date of this act and who is the legal
11 possessor of the animal may keep possession of the animal for the
12 remainder of the animal’s life. The person must maintain veterinary
13 records, acquisition papers for the animal, if available, or other
14 documents or records that establish that the person possessed the
15 animal prior to the effective date of this act, and present the
16 paperwork to an animal control or law enforcement authority upon
17 request. The person shall have the burden of proving that he or she
18 possessed the animal prior to the effective date of this act.
19 NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. (1) The animal control authority or a law
20 enforcement officer may immediately confiscate a potentially dangerous
21 wild animal if:
22 (a) The animal control authority or law enforcement officer has
23 probable cause to believe that the animal was acquired after the
24 effective date of this act in violation of section 4 of this act;
25 (b) The animal poses a public safety or health risk;
26 (c) The animal is in poor health and condition as a result of the
27 possessor; or
28 (d) The animal is being held in contravention of the act.
29 (2) A potentially dangerous wild animal that is confiscated under
30 this section may be returned to the possessor only if the animal
31 control authority or law enforcement officer establishes that the
32 possessor had possession of the animal prior to the effective date of
33 this act and the return does not pose a public safety or health risk.
34 (3) The animal control authority or law enforcement officer shall
35 serve notice upon the possessor in person or by regular and certified
36 mail, return receipt requested, notifying the possessor of the
HB 1418.SL p. 4
1 confiscation, that the possessor is responsible for payment of
2 reasonable costs for caring and providing for the animal during the
3 confiscation, and that the possessor must meet the requirements of
4 subsection (2) of this section in order for the animal to be returned
5 to the possessor.
6 (4) If a potentially dangerous wild animal confiscated under this
7 section is not returned to the possessor, the animal control authority
8 or law enforcement officer may release the animal to a facility such as
9 a wildlife sanctuary or a facility exempted pursuant to section 3 of
10 this act. If the animal control authority or law enforcement officer
11 is unable to relocate the animal within a reasonable period of time, it
12 may euthanize the animal.
13 (5) An animal control authority or law enforcement officer may
14 euthanize a potentially dangerous wild animal under this section only
15 if all known reasonable placement options, including relocation to a
16 wildlife sanctuary, are unavailable.
17 (6) This section applies to animal confiscations on or after the
18 effective date of this act.
19 NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. A city or county may adopt an ordinance
20 governing potentially dangerous wild animals that is more restrictive
21 than this chapter. However, nothing in this chapter requires a city or
22 county to adopt an ordinance to be in compliance with this chapter.
23 NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. A person who violates section 4 of this act
24 is liable for a civil penalty of not less than two hundred dollars and
25 not more than two thousand dollars for each animal with respect to
26 which there is a violation and for each day the violation continues.
27 NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. (1) The animal control authority and its
28 staff and agents, local law enforcement agents, and county sheriffs are
29 authorized and empowered to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
30 (2) If a locality does not have a local animal control authority,
31 the department of fish and wildlife shall enforce the provisions of
32 this chapter.
33 NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. If any provision of this act or its
p. 5 HB 1418.SL
1 application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the
2 remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other
3 persons or circumstances is not affected.
4 NEW SECTION. Sec. 10. Sections 1 through 9 of this act constitute
5 a new chapter in Title 16 RCW.
Passed by the House April 16, 2007.
Passed by the Senate April 3, 2007.
Approved by the Governor April 30, 2007.
Filed in Office of Secretary of State April 30, 2007.
Prince George, B.C. bans exotic animal performances in circuses and shows ( 20 B.C. municipalities are going this route although Vancouver is taking it one step further and prohibiting the ownership of exotic animals.) Monday, April 30, 2007 10:21 PM
Prince George City Council has decided the days of the performing tigers and elephants are numbered.
It was June of last year that City Councilors asked staff to prepare a report on how the City could deal with a request from the BC SPCA that all circuses using exotic animals be banned from Prince George. Well, the Jordan Circus has been booked for Prince George, and the Jordan Circus uses elephants and tigers. The report before Council says if the City bans such circuses, then $10 to $15 thousand dollars will be lost in booking revenue. The Jordan Circus has already signed a contract to appear in Prince George this July. That contract would be honoured regardless of Council’s decision.
There were four options presented to Council:
Continue to allow them and let the BCSPCA carry out the inspections to ensure the animals are allright ( that’s how Edmonton deals with it) Draft a bylaw prohibiting exotic animal performances in circuses and shows ( 20 B.C. municipalities are going this route although Vancouver is taking it one step further and prohibiting the ownership of exotic animals.) By policy, refuse to rent civic facilities to such circuses, although nothing would prevent a private land owner from providing a site Have a resolution sent to North Central Municipal Association and the Union of BC Municipalities calling for a Provincial ban on a standardized list of exotic animal performances. Council Don Zurowski moved that Council adopt option 2.
Bylaw Officer Ken Craig told Council his office has not received any complaints about cruelty or mistreatment of animals. “It is progressive and its the right thing to do” says Councilor Brian Skakun. Councilor Deborah Munoz says the City shouldn’t allow any kind of show that caused any mistreatment of any animal exotic or not. Councilor Murry Krause, says “Caging wild animals is archaic, and its time we show how progressive Prince George really is.”
Councilor Sherry Sethen “There are things that cause animals some stress, and I would suggest that as we move forward we will be challenged by others in the community and I would hope we stand firm and not change our minds”. Councillor Glen Scott “We always have these groups come forward saying why this should take place, and its a backward step just regimenting another part of our lives.” Scott was the only one to vote against the development of the bylaw.
Kathy Travers, an animal welfare activist, and one of the directors of the local branch of the BC SPCA had pushed for such a bylaw for years. When the vote was complete, a jubilant Travers wept with joy.
Thanks to all of you who wrote letters to your Florida legislators about the Python Bill it has passed both the Senate and the House unanimously and is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2007.
While snakes are a little off topic for Big Cat Rescue, the reason this bill was so important is that it will also require people in Florida who exhibit Class I animals, for compensation or not, to either carry 2 million dollars in liability coverage or post a $10,000.00 bond with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. Class I animals include tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, bears and next year will hopefully include cougars. If people are going to be allowed to keep these dangerous animals, they should be held accountable for any damage they do through the owner’s negligence.
This bill will also enable the FWCC to move more quickly to shut down dangerous and abusive situations because it spells out what constitutes a violation and what the penalties are. It also provides a cushion of funds, provided by the exhibitor’s mandatory contribution to the bond, so that the FWCC can afford to step in and feed and relocate Class I animals that are in crisis.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that this will stop a lot of low-life-types from bringing their baby tiger photos booths to Florida
and will dry up the market for baby big cats to be used in practices that are unsafe for the public and unkind to the cats. Thanks again for writing letters to your legislators. It really made a difference! Now you can help us stop the exploitation of contact with big cats at a Federal level. Haley’s Act has been introduced in Congress and is picking up momentum with every letter you write. Visit www.CatLaws.com now to send your letter and save thousands more of these wonderful lions, tigers and other big cats from lives of exploitation, abuse and abandonment.
Taiwan bans circuses from importing protected animals
Jun 15, 11:04 AM ET
TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan’s parliament has amended a law to ban circuses from importing or exporting protected animals in an effort to improve protection of animal rights, a legislator said Friday. Under the revised Wildlife Conservation Law passed late Thursday, all imports and exports of animals such as lions, tigers, elephants and monkeys are prohibited unless they are needed for research, said Tien Chiu-chin, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, who proposed the bill. The new law categorizes the banned animals in line with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Previously circuses were permitted to import animals for performances. The new law does not apply to animals already owned by circuses. “The performances are negative education on environmental conservation. Personal pleasure must not be built on the suffering of other animals,” Tien said. The amendment, which will become effective in two weeks, also imposes tougher punishment for animal abuse with a maximum one-year prison term for harassing, hurting or abandoning animals that results in their death or serious injury. Under current legislation animal abusers face fines of between 10,000 and 50,000 Taiwan dollars (303-1,515 US).
2003 Federal Ban on Selling Big Cats as Pets Across State Lines Passes
This one bill has saved thousands of big cats from being bred for sale as pets across state lines. It passed in December 2003 and was called the Captive Wildlife Safety Act. The flaw in the bill is that it exempts USDA licensees, and it is only $40 and a one page application to get a USDA license. Work is being done to eliminate the huge loop hole caused by this exemption. More about the number of abandoned big cats here.
This brochure wasn’t found until 2016, but it was interesting to see that USDA opposed the private possession of big cats as far back as 2000. See USDA brochure.
According to this release the USDA’s Animal Care specialists are adamantly against private ownership of big cats by the general public, and they give some great reasons for it. Here are a few quotes:
“AC personnel have seen too many instances where wild and exotic cats kept by untrained people have not only harmed people but suffered themselves due to poor care.”
“Because of these animals’ potential to kill or severely injure both people and other animals, an untrained person should not keep them as pets. Doing so poses serious risks to family, friends, neighbors, and the general public. Even an animal that is friendly and loving can be very dangerous. In AC’s experience, unsuspecting children and adults have been seriously injured or killed, even when the animals involved were “only playing.”
“The average person lacks the specialized equipment and expertise to provide properly for the containment, medical care, husbandry, and nutrition of a large wild or exotic cat. AC has seen this lack of expertise result in the unnecessary suffering and premature death of animals.”
“Large wild and exotic cats obtained as pets are usually acquired as appealing cubs, but when the animals are fully grown, owners often become dismayed at the high cost and difficulty of providing for their upkeep… …Placement of these unwanted animals is difficult because most zoos are unwilling to take them and few sanctuary facilities exist. Many of these cats end up being killed for their pelts and meat.”
Of course, these are the same things that Big Cat Rescue has been preaching about since the 1990s, but hearing it from an official government agency might help convince people that this is a real problem, not just some made-up animal rights crusade.
We are asked this question several times a day, but don’t always have the time to give a completely in depth answer, so please forgive us for just sending you to this page. Our intent in doing so is to give you a much more complete answer than we could in an email and it frees us up to be doing the very work that you have been funding us to do. If you have asked for our advice, it’s because you already know and trust us, but even those who love and support our work often report they had no idea of the range of our work. If cats are your passion we are specialists in protecting them. Please allow me a few minutes to give you an overview of the range of our work and if you don’t see your particular interest mentioned, I’ll include some other suggestions.
Captive Big Cats
Big Cat Rescue has been rescuing and providing lifetime care to exotic cats of all sizes, from 3 pound Sand Cats to 750 pound Tigers since 1992. All of our cats’ bios are listed here: http://BigCatRescue.org/bobcat-rehab More than 250 cats have lived out their lives here in peace and tranquility. We rescue cats as we have space and funds to do so but never take on more animals than we can provide for until the end of their lives.
Rescue and Rehab of Wild Cats
Big Cat Rescue has the finest bobcat rehab facilities to be found. We have a long history of assisting bobcats who have been hit by cars, poisoned, shot or orphaned. More about our rehab work cat be found at http://BigCatRescue.org/bobcat-rehab
Domestic Cats and Kittens
Big Cat Rescue fosters domestic kittens, and often their mothers, through the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. We take orphans or mothers with young litters and raise them up until they are 2 lbs and are ready to be spayed / neutered and adopted. We provide round the clock infant care and take in the feral cats and kittens that other foster homes are not equipped to handle. We have been able to assist more than 275 cats and kittens on their road to permanent homes since 2014. http://bigcatrescue.org/kittens/
Big Cat Rescue has assisted groups including Animal Coalition of Tampa, No More Homeless Pets, Cat Crusaders and others by providing transport for spay day equipment and hosting groups for free at our sanctuary for their volunteer appreciation parties. We TnR a number of cats ourselves as well and fight for laws to protect those who are working to reduce the number of cats killed in shelters through aggressive spay / neuter programs.
Wild Cats in the Wild
In addition to advocacy work to protect wild places for wild cats, Big Cat Rescue donates to programs in countries where wild cats live. We have a staff member who seeks out the best work being done for wild cats. She wades through tons of information to suss out the programs where our donations can do the most good and is careful to be sure we are not supporting situations that may be doing more harm than good. You can see the places we have chosen to fund here: http://bigcatrescue.org/insitu/
When it comes to supporting big cat conservation, there is probably no one we trust more than Panthera, but with 80 million dollars in the bank, they don’t need our small sums, so we tend to focus more on the smaller cats who get far less funding.
Education About Cats
Big Cat Rescue provides a premiere website that gets more than 3.5 million visitors per year and has more than 10,000 pages of information on big cats and how to protect them. Our social sites have fans in excess of 2 million people and our live streaming events often reach half a million to a million people a day. We use the Internet and our social reach to educate people about what they can do to protect big cats. We have written and provide materials for free on how to run an effective sanctuary here: http://bigcatrescue.org/cat-care/
We have compiled our extensive staff and volunteer training into an online course that is available for $9 per month to anyone who is thinking about working with captive wild animals at ZooCollege.com and we provide the course for free to sanctuaries that are accredited or seeking accreditation.
Through our live web cams people from all around the planet can tune in to watch the behavior of captive cats, see how rehab cats are learning to survive in the wild and can even watch all of our veterinary procedures from a camera that is mounted over the operating table and in X-ray.
We focus most of our time and energy on educating adults because big cats will die out in the wild before the children of today are old enough to do anything about it, if we don’t act now. We do offer Adult and Kids Tours and Education Outreach and provide teachers with a way to put the cat in FCAT.
Advocacy for All Cats
We are the only sanctuary with a lobbyist who is working to end the trade in big cats. We were the first organization to actually hire a lawyer to represent a tiger. More about that at FreeTony.com
We provide an easy to use system that connects our supporters to the lawmakers and non governmental decision makers around the globe who are in the position to make our world a better place for exotic cats. You can see the array of current pending issues (go ahead and take action too while you’re there) at CatLaws.com All of the cute photos and videos we post all over the web are just to get people to come take action to actually protect wild cats. While big cats, or exotic cats are our primary focus, we often encourage action for measures to protect domestic cats too.
Did you know that Big Cat Rescue and all of the properties owned by BCR and Carole Baskin are completely off the grid? In 2012 Big Cat Rescue began installing solar panels to harness the power of the sun and cut our dependence on fossil fuels. By 2015 we had partnered with Arcadia Power to insure that all of our power comes from clean energy sources, like wind and solar. Big Cat Rescue has rental properties and volunteer and intern housing off site that pay a little bit extra each month for energy to insist that it be green. CEO, Carole Baskin does the same with her home and her rental properties. In 2016 we took our commitment to a healthier planet a step further by becoming a green energy producer for SolarCoin. If you have known us since the 90s you will know that we have a robust ink and cell phone recycling program, that we are frequently sharing planet protecting strategies and that we recycle everything at the sanctuary.
If there is any work being done for cats that we don’t do, it’s only because we haven’t heard about it yet. Feel free to alert us in the comments below.
Other Good Places?
So maybe you don’t want all of your donations to go to cats, or to one place. That seems to be pretty common, based on the number of people who ask me who else would be good to fund. Personally, from what I know about funding animal work, it is a lot more effective to focus all of your time and energy in a certain direction, than to scatter resources with a shotgun type approach. That’s why Big Cat Rescue is laser focused on CATS.
There are two ways to determine if an organization is worthy of funding.
There is no reason for any legitimate sanctuary to not be accredited because the cost is minimal ($750 a year which won’t even feed one cat for 3 weeks) and the value is immeasurable. Donors have the assurance that an outside body is actually overseeing what happens and GFAS offers all kinds of training, resources and grants to help sanctuaries improve their conditions.
If it is an animal welfare group, or a sanctuary, then look to Charity Navigator. Be sure to compare the non profit you are thinking about to Big Cat Rescue’s scoring to know how they stack up. There are very few who even come close to our ranking.
Who You Shouldn’t Fund
Ignore the heart tugging plight of wild animals in foreign countries where you cannot find a legitimate sanctuary or non profit (see above) to vet them. Many con artists have figured out that people will send money if they see starving animals. There is a photo of a starving tiger that is still making the rounds and bilking kind hearted people out of their money many years after she was rescued and then died.
Slick mailing campaigns are the main stay for some of the worst facilities in America. As much as 90% of the money donated goes to the mail house that creates the stories, which are usually utter fabrications, and the remaining 10% goes to people who are not running legitimate sanctuaries. They are experts in parting people from their money and prey on the elderly who may not have the skills to check out the underlying organizations online.
This last one is probably the hardest. There are some miserable conditions out there for captive wild cats, that are masquerading as sanctuaries or “rescue centers” (because they sell the animals, so they claim to rescue them from bad places and then send them to good places). Their pitch is, “If you don’t like what you see then donate and we will make it better.” That just isn’t true.
If they are taking in animals they can’t afford, or worse yet, breeding them, then there is no amount of money that is going to change them from hoarders to rescuers. The best thing you can do for the poor animals in their hands is to take careful notes, photos and videos and then write up complaints to the USDA, and state or local authorities so that they do not continue to add to the suffering they are already causing.
Thank you for taking the time to find out what we do and why we think we are your best choice if your intention is to help cats. At the link above you will find many ways to give; from outright donations, to donations that include signs to recognize your support, to making cat protection your legacy to finding great items you can buy and use that generate funds for the cats.
Because we are primates, who are naturally social animals, we often impose our needs and desires on cats who are solitary by nature.
I can’t tell you how many times people have bemoaned the fact that most of our cats are housed alone. People often insist the animal would be happier with a cage mate, because they couldn’t imagine living alone. Cats prefer solitude. They don’t need us and they don’t need each other.
This is where people say, “Oh yeah, well what about lions?”
That tells me they know almost nothing about lions. While it may be common to see lions living in prides in the wild, what the average person doesn’t know is that those are family groups who have been born into the tribe. Nature, in her infinite wisdom, realizes that inbreeding will result in sickly cats who eventually die out, so males have to fight to lead a pride and to have mating privileges. Younger males, who have been driven from their own birth prides by their fathers, have to find other tribes if their genes are going to be passed down. To do that they have to kill any dominant males in the pride and all of their cubs. It’s a bloody battle for survival of the species and not one that should be emulated in captivity.
In The Wild
In the wild a mother may raise her kittens or cubs from a year and a half to five years, depending on the species and the environmental factors, such as availability of prey. When they are grown, she will run them off and if they meet again, it could be a battle to the death over territory. Sometimes people see images of cats they think to be adults, living in groups in the wild, but that is usually a mother and her nearly grown cubs. They will be full size a long time before they are fully mature and ready to make their own place in the wild.
Lions crowded into tiny, filthy cages at Dade City’s Wild Things, once they were too big to use as photo props.
In captivity one of the worst things I’ve seen when traveling to zoos, private back yard menageries and “sanctuaries” is that people force cats to live in groups. Whether it is because the person who has set up the caging system doesn’t understand the cats’ needs, or whether they have succumbed to the public constantly demanding that cats be forced into shared space isn’t clear, but either way it is usually a miserable and dangerous existence for the cats. Cats want their own space, their own free access to food and water, their own dens and their own platforms and toys. They don’t like to share.
There are rare exceptions, where cats have been raised together since cubs, that they will tolerate each other and may even find some joy in chasing each other around and grooming each other, but that is the exception, rather than the rule. Even in cases where cats have lived and shared space together their whole lives, the cage has to be built in such a way that they can be easily separated when food, treats or enrichment is involved. That extends to their medical needs too. If cats share space, how can you tell if each cat ate their entire diet, or if each cat is eliminating properly, or get a pill into one without another stealing the treat with the medication?
What I usually see, at places where cats are kept in groups, is that there are dominant cats who get the lion’s share (sorry, couldn’t help that one) of the food, water, best toys, and best lounging spots. There are then the cats at the other end of the totem pole, who have fearful eyes, battered ears, missing tails, scars and are clearly not enjoying their lives. Then there all of the cats in the middle who are desperately trying not to be the least powerful cat in the group, even if they don’t think they can take over as leader. How can a place call themselves a sanctuary when most of the cats in it are not living a peaceful life?
The fact of the matter is that it is cheaper to make cats share space and, as wicked as it sounds, it gives some facilities the ability to “rescue” more cats as their cats kill each other or die from undiagnosed illnesses or from the stress of being forced to fight every day of their lives. Anyone who rescues wild animals can tell you that the public LOVES to fund a rescue but the money raised is never enough for more than the first year of care. In order to keep people donating, many places feel like they have to keep bringing in more cats. When you consider that they can live into their late teens and early twenties it becomes clear why they may not want to foster situations that allow last year’s rescued cat to achieve their full potential in longevity.
The things I’ve heard these people say is unbelievably callous. They say things like, “I rescued them, so they can work the rest out themselves.” No, they really can’t, because the way they would work that out in the wild means putting miles in between themselves and other cats. There are no captive situations that make that possible. There are some that do a better job than others, but most are crammed into quarters that aren’t even big enough for one cat, much less a whole group of them.
So, How Do You Decide?
You will hear others insist that their cats are happy living in groups, even mixed groups of differing species, and the photos and videos they post may seem to back that up. It isn’t something you can decide in a sound bite or from a few photos or videos. To really know if cats are living to their full potential you would have to do cortisone studies of their feces to know if the “fight or flight” hormones are being excreted in excessive amounts. Some zoos have done such studies on cheetah and find that just being in captivity causes them to suffer greatly from always being on edge. That is compounded by the fact that they are usually kept in groups, and mixed and matched a lot, because they don’t want to breed in captivity.
The proof is in the age and condition of the cats at the end of their lives.
There are VERY few facilities that post all of their exotic cats by name, birthdate and bio like we do. Even fewer who update you in real time about changes in their health and habits like we do. There are none, other than Big Cat Rescue, that I know of who also post a tribute to every cat who ever lived at the sanctuary. On that site we list their date of birth, if known, and approximated based on vet observations at the time of rescue, which is posted, their date of death and the vet’s necropsy findings. From that you can see that cats at Big Cat Rescue on average live to be 17, with some outliers who have lived to 24 to a month shy of 30. Other places will often post a claim of an old age at the time of death but have never provided any corroborating evidence during the cat’s life.
If there are other places that you want to support and promote then ask them to give you, and the rest of the world, all the information that we give our donors. If they are doing right by their animals, the world will take notice and support them. If they aren’t then why would you want to be involved with them?