Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 13 2013

Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 13 2013

Never a Boring Moment –

Escaped White Tiger “Sighting”


I was about nine years old and was perched in the highest branches of the pine tree next to our home on Knollwood Dr., in Charleston, WV, looking out toward the airport where my father was the private pilot for Gov. Arch Moore.  It was my favorite spot.  I could see for miles across the hills and valleys.  I was watching planes take off and land at long intervals.  I was bored out of my mind.

“God,” I implored, “never let me be this bored again.”

Well you have to be careful what you ask for because I don’t think there has been a boring moment since.

Today was one of the weirder days.

At 1:24 am the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office called me (apparently) but my ringer was off, so they called our Operations Manager, Gale, and said that a caller had reported a white tiger loose on Van Dyke Road and they wanted her to see if our tigers were all here.  Gale did the rounds, even though we only have one white tiger, just to be sure that all of the cats were accounted for.  Thankfully, she didn’t bother me with it and let me sleep.

At 8:52, 8:56 and 9:00 am I get (and miss) three calls back to back from Tallahassee, but I am out cleaning litter boxes and the caller didn’t leave a message, so I am unaware, until just now, that these calls were in my “Recent Calls” list.  Probably the Florida Wildlife Commission.  850 717-14XX

At 9:06 am I get a call (also missed) from the Homestead area 305 247-8000 and they didn’t leave a message this time, but I see that the same number did leave a message at 1:25 am, saying that they were a Deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office reporting a white tiger sighting on Van Dyke Road in NW Tampa.  I find it odd that a sheriff’s deputy in Tampa would have a Homestead area code, so I call the real Hillsborough County Sheriff.

I tell them who I am and about the call and the Captain said they did get such a call last night, but that he has no idea who called me or why they would have a Homestead area code on their phone. No one else has reported the white tiger and we all just figure it was a drunk or a prank caller. Our enemies, the people who abuse big cats for a living, think it is fun to annoy us and the local police with their stupidity on a regular basis.  I told him that we have a new, high power dart rifle if they do see a cat and that we would be happy to help them capture the cat alive.

I texted Gale after the call and that’s when she told me that she had been called in the middle of the night and had done her head count.

At 11:11 am I get a call from 813 735-93XX and it is a young man who is telling me that he was the caller to the Sheriff last night and that he had been to Big Cat Rescue with his girlfriend and hoped that he had not gotten us in trouble.  I told him that all of our cats were in their cages, so there was no trouble to be in.  He then told me that he loved Big Cat Rescue and that he was sober when he saw the white tiger running along side Van Dyke Road at Lakeshore.  He said that he often sees white tailed deer along this stretch of road and that he was no big cat expert, but that it was definitely a cat, with a body about five feet long, and it was white.

He said that after visiting Big Cat Rescue, he knows that people often have such pets and he felt like it was important to let someone know it was running loose.  He said he was really embarrassed to make the report because he could barely get up the nerve to even tell his girlfriend what he had seen.  I told him he did the right thing.

He said he had checked the news this morning, fully expecting a huge media blitz over the discovery of a white tiger, but was surprised that no one else seems to have seen the cat.  I told him that it’s pretty hard for a white tiger to hide, but if the owner knew the cat was out, maybe they had managed to round it back up.  Unfortunately there are thousands of big cats in private hands and very little government oversight.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I called the Homestead number and the person who answered was not a Hillsborough County Sheriff, but rather runs a seedy little roadside zoo called the Everglades Outpost where they have been known for their cub petting display.  I know the name because I have a photo of someone petting a full grown white tiger at the Outpost.

Everglades Outpost Harry

So, now I am wondering, why the Everglades Outpost would call me, pretending to be a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy reporting a loose white tiger in Tampa when they operate a zoo 200 miles away?


2:30 pm  A few hours after reporting this to USDA and the FWC my Inspector says that the Sheriff’s office often will mask the area code of their cell phones, and it is likely just a coincidence that the number on my phone matches the Everglades Outpost.  Apparently there were 9 HCSO deputies, 1 Helicopter w/ 2 occupants, and 3 FWC personnel involved because of this crazy call.  A huge waste of taxpayer dollars and yet another reason why the U.S. needs to ban the private possession of big cats.  Not that there was a privately owned cat involved, but if it were not such a likely scenario, there would not have been such a huge number of people and resources called to action.

This was my response:
Dear XXXX,

When I made these screen shots, I see what you mean.  The Sheriff’s office main number is 813 247-8000 so perhaps it is just a coincidence that the fake area code 305, attached to that number would just happen to be a place (Everglades Outpost) 200 miles away with a white tiger petting scheme.

What are the odds of that?

OK, so it sounds like this was all just because of some local report.  That is a lot less suspicious to me, then.

Here are the screen shots of the calls.  I can’t figure out how to save the voicemail to send to you, but if that really was a H.C. Sheriff’s Deputy, then you probably don’t need it.

5:18 pm a frantic woman calls and asks if I can tell her the name of their local, big cat rescue, because “there are two black saber panthers under a bridge in Burbank, California.”

Is there a full moon?


Africa Con in Conservation

All Cub Petting in Africa Enables Canned Hunts of Big Cats


In this episode we investigate the so-called “green con”, where volunteers are paying exorbitant amounts to come to South Africa to hand raise lion cubs under the impression that they are doing it for conservation. Activists allege that most of these cubs end up in a “canned” hunt or as breeding robots for farms.

We also focus on the alleged abuse of the permit system for the breeding and hunting of lion and ask whether the country needs to have standardised regulations across all provinces.

Part 2 looks at the lion bone trade which has grown hugely over the past few years. Many people know about how the rhino is being poached for its horn, which is used in traditional medicines in Asia, but few know that lion bones are also being used as a replacement for tiger bones in tiger bone wine in Asia, since the tiger numbers have plummeted so drastically. There are concerns that the trade, which is now just a by-product of the hunt, will eventually spill over into wild lion populations.


Audits Say Jungle Island Is Not Keeping Pledge to Government Loans

Miami auditors: Jungle Island falls short on job creation pledges


A stinging draft audit report from the city of Miami is the latest black eye for Jungle Island.



The iconic Jungle Island sign sits in front of the attraction on Watson Island. C.W. GRIFFIN / MIAMI HERALD STAFF



KMCGRORY@MIAMIHERALD.COM Jungle Island employs hundreds fewer workers than required under the terms of a $25 million federal loan, and only a fraction of them are low- and middle-income employees despite a separate loan pledge made by the aviary attraction. 

The findings, part of a stinging draft audit by the park’s landlord, the city of Miami, are another black eye for Jungle Island, which made headlines last summer when its owners said they could not afford a $2 million payment due on the federal loan.


Miami auditors found that Jungle Island has only 426 full-time employees — a far cry from the 714 required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Federal standards require that loan recipients create at least one full-time post for every $35,000 they receive, in a bid to spur urban development.


The aviary park also fell short on a promise to award more than half of all jobs to low- and middle-income workers, according to the audit. Jungle Island officials told Miami that 38 percent of park positions were held by workers who live in low- and middle-class neighborhoods. Auditors found the figure to be closer to 4 percent.


Park owner Bern Levine said he had not yet seen the city audit, but contested its findings.


“We have met and exceeded [the requirements],” Levines

1 Dead 106 Sick After Petting Zoo Comes to Town

Mother sues after E. coli outbreak

106 sick, including 1 dead, after visit to petting zoo at Cleveland County Fair

By Joe DePriest
Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012

A nationally known Seattle-based lawyer who specializes in E. coli cases is representing a Maiden woman and her 18-month-old son who became ill in the E. coli outbreak tied to the Cleveland County Fair.On Monday, Bill Marler filed a civil complaint in Cleveland County against the fair and petting zoo owner on behalf of plaintiffs Amie Westfall and her son, Dominic. Also representing the Westfalls is Asheville lawyer Mark Kurdys.Last week, the families of two children who became ill in the outbreak sued the fair. One is from Gastonia and the other is from Gaffney, S.C.The suit filed by Marler states that Dominic Westfall attended the fair with his mother and visited the Circle G Ranch petting zoo.

N.C. health officials have said the petting zoo at the fair was the focal point of the E. coli outbreak, and that rainy weather helped spread the bacteria to areas away from the animals.

In all, 106 people became sick, including a 2-year-old from Gastonia who died.

On Sept. 29, Dominic Westfall fell ill with gastrointestinal symptoms and the next day began sufferingfromfever

Fostering is Cool

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A little cat named Lotto changed Jack Talman’s life forever and even though he has passed on, he continues to inspire us with this endeavor called Fostering is Cool.

Millions of cats, kittens, dogs and puppies are killed in shelters because they are deemed non adoptable. Often it is because the kittens and puppies are still nursing, or because the overcrowded conditions in the shelters causes illness before the animals can find homes.

Fostering a pet is a cool way to help give them a second chance at finding a forever home.

Foster “parents” are desperately needed today.  Please open your heart and your homes and find out why Fostering is SO Cool.

To see up to the minute updates about Fostering a pet visit About Us / News

About Us

About Jack

A little cat named Lotto changed Jack Talman’s life forever and even though he has passed on, he continues to inspire us with this endeavor called Fostering is Cool.

Millions of cats, kittens, dogs and puppies are killed in shelters because they are deemed non adoptable. Often it is because the kittens and puppies are still nursing, or because the overcrowded conditions in the shelters causes illness before the animals can find homes.

Fostering a pet is a cool way to help give them a second chance at finding a forever home.

Foster “parents” are desperately needed today.  Please open your heart and your homes and find out why Fostering is SO Cool.

Photo of Jewell and Jack Talman with Porsha


Foster Partners

A few of Jack’s favorite people to work with in rescuing animals


Hillsborough County Animal Services

Humane Society of Tampa Bay

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort to companion animals in need.  For almost 100 years, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has served our community by finding homes for homeless animals, free shot clinics in disadvantaged neighborhoods, providing pet food for people who can not afford to feed their pets, offering low cost spay/neuter for owned pets, providing affordable wellness care for all pets, coordinating the community’s TNR program for feral cats, and transferring homeless pets who are at risk to our facility to improve our counties save rate.  The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is the place that Makes Dreams Come True™.  Website

Rescue Groups

Animal Coalition of Tampa

Mission:  To provide a quality, affordable and accessible opportunity for people to spay and neuter companion animals so that someday we can end pet overpopulation in Hillsborough County.  ACT Clinic was established to give people an affordable way to do the right thing. We believe that all living creatures have inherent value and are deserving of an acceptable quality of life. Euthanasia as a means of population control has no place in this vision. ACT’s primary focus is high volume spay/neuter programs to reduce the number of companion animals entering Hillsborough County’s shelter, and in turn, to eliminate euthanasia. Currently, ACT is involved in three major projects to achieve this end.  ? ?ACT Spay/Neuter Clinic: high volume, low cost surgeries taking dogs and cats. Call 813-250-3900 for reservations. ? ?SpayDay: a monthly volunteer-based spay/neuter program for feral cats of Hillsborough County. ? Stride for Strays: an annual fundraiser to increase awareness and support for local spay/neuter efforts   Website

Animal Friends Society

(AFS) is an all volunteer, no-kill organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of homeless and unwanted companion animals. Animal Friends Society rescues animals, has them vet-checked, medically treated, spayed/ neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. All animals are kept in foster homes until they are ready for adoption. Animal Friends Society is dedicated to finding loving, forever homes for each animal we take in. As a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, Animal Friends Society is funded solely by private donations and fund raising events. All funds collected go directly to the care of our animals!  Website

Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions

We are an all-volunteer group that finds pet homes for greyhounds who retire from racing or who do not qualify for the track. We also inform the public about the desirability of greyhounds as pets. Our mission is to assist any greyhound in need, including senior dogs or those with broken legs or other physical problems. Since our inception in July 2004, we have placed approximately 500 greyhounds in pet homes throughout the Tampa Bay area. Because there are so many greyhound race tracks in Florida, it is not possible to adopt all greyhounds locally. We therefore assist with shipping of retired racing greyhounds to non-racing states for adoption. We are also a part of the Second Chance at Life Greyhound Prison Program in which we place greyhounds in prison facilities and the inmate handlers help to train the greyhounds prior to adoption. This program helps both the dogs and the inmates and has been highly successful.  Website

Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue, a non profit educational sanctuary, is devoted to rescuing and providing a permanent home for exotic (i.e. wild, not domestic) cats who have been abused, abandoned, bred to be pets, retired from performing acts, or saved from being slaughtered for fur coats, and to educating the public about these animals and the issues facing them in captivity and in the wild.   Website


(Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort) is a small shelter housing between 50-60 dogs and cats located in the Southshore area of Hillsborough. We also operate a discount spay-neuter clinic for low income residents with County vouchers. Website


CARES was founded in September 2007. What was once just a vision soon turned into our Mission. We here at CARES (Community Animal Rescue & Educational Shelter) dedicate our entire being in helping the unfortunate pets of our community. In just over a years time, CARES has rescued and re-homed over 280 pets. These pets once belonged somewhere, to someone and left to fend for themselves either by abuse, neglect, or pure ignorance. CARES believes that there is that perfect Forever Home for each and every pet we rescue. CARES soley relies on the support we receive from our volunteers, fosters, sponsors and donors. CARES is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.  Website

Cat Call

We are a group of individuals working together to help our feral and stray cat community in Hillsborough County Florida. Our goal is to spay or neuter every unaltered stray or feral that we obtain and find homes for the social cats and kittens.  Website

Fix and Feed Feline

We are Fix & Feed Feline Feral, Inc., a Tampa based non-profit organization which provides information, humane alternatives and assistance to individuals who act as caregivers to stray and feral cats. We also have an adoption program. We fix, feed, and rescue in Tampa area neighborhoods and surrounding communities.  Website

Saint Francis Animal Rescue

St. Francis Society Animal Rescue is an all volunteer, non-profit 501-c-3 animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of sick, injured, and stray domestic animals as well as spay/neuter and medical services for those animals. We seek to place animals in a loving foster or permanent home after recovery and we DO NOT euthanize unless terminal illness necessitates such a decision. All of our animals are spayed/neutered, tested for leukemia/FIV (cats), wormed and vaccinated before they are adopted.  Website

Suncoast Animal League

The Suncoast Animal League is a no kill, non-profit animal shelter founded in 2006. Since it’s inception, the League has made an immediate impact on the community. The League has rescued hundreds of animals from abuse situations, such as the Tarpon Springs puppy mill, or imminent death from near-by counties, around the state of Florida, as well as, other states. The Suncoast Animal League has spayed and neutered over a thousand cats and dogs over the past two years, including more than 600 low or no cost surgeries for the community, this year alone.  The Suncoast Animal League, founded by Rick Chaboudy and Annette Dettloff, is located at 1030 Pennsylvania Avenue in Palm Harbor, FL,34683. You can contact the League at 727-786-1330.  Website



Lakeside Animal Hospital in Odessa, FL is a full service companion animal hospital. Established in 1989, Lakeside’s services have expanded to include full diagnostics, preventative care, surgical, radiology and laboratory services. In addition, Lakeside is a recognized provider of complete, advanced pet care. Resident doctors Dr. Azza Diasti and Dr.Lisa R. Cote and their staff are committed to providing a full-service facility, as well as providing superior care to their community. Other services include dentistry, pharmacy, dietary and behavioral counseling, full-service boarding and daycare, as well as professional grooming.



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Fostering is Cool Call Jack at 813-247-3021Do you have any questions or comments about our fostering a pet? Send them to us. We would love to get you started saving lives and feeling good about your accomplishments.