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Posted in News @ BCR | 40 comments

Today at Big Cat Rescue Feb 9 2013 Big Cat Rescue Wins

Legal victory against tiger cub exploiter!

 

Amazing Grace Ocelot at Big Cat Rescue

Many of you have followed our two year long legal battle against Joe Schreibvogel and GW Exotic Memorial Animal Park. Schreibvogel constantly breeds tiger cubs to use to make money by charging people to pet or take photos with them, both at his park and on a “road show” that exhibits at malls and fairs. As part of our increasing focus on advocacy work, we have contacted these venues to educate them about why we believe this was mistreatment of the animals and why it was also bad business because it offended the many people who love animals and oppose this exploitation.

Among his many other unprofessional responses and attacks on Big Cat Rescue and Carole personally, in 2010 Schreibvogel decided to use the name Big Cat Rescue Entertainment for his traveling exhibit. He created a logo where the words Big Cat Rescue looked very much like our logo, and even starting using a phone number with our area code, to create confusion and damage our reputation by having people think we were doing cub petting.

We filed suit in federal court in January 2011 to stop him. As we expected, he counter sued, claiming that in our statements to the venues about him and cub petting we had slandered and libeled him and tortiously interfered with his business relationships.

Separately, he repeatedly used photos we own in violation of our copyright ownership and mischaracterized them. So we filed two lawsuits to stop him from doing that.

The trial for the trademark case was to begin Monday, and the trial for the first copyright case was to begin two weeks later.

Last August we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asking the judge to throw out his counterclaims. This past Thursday(2/7/13)  the judge ruled in our favor. To paraphrase the legal language of part of her ruling, she concluded that our statements to the malls and to our supporters about Schreibvogel met the legal requirements for being “privileged,” in part because they were made in good faith and with a good motive, and therefore could not be considered slander or libel.

Now with no upside in the lawsuit once his counterclaims were pronounced invalid, rather than face us in two trials where he had nothing to gain and a lot to lose, yesterday Schreibvogel agreed to a Consent Final Judgment under which we were awarded damages and legal fees totaling a little over $1 million dollars.

 

White Tiger Zabu Lion Cameron Big Cat Rescue

 

How this plays out in terms of collecting the judgment remains to be seen. There are some scenarios in which this may turn out to be a benefit to the animals at his park, but it is not appropriate to publicly speculate about those at this point, we can only see what happens. In the meantime, this is a huge victory against a man we have viewed as one of the most notorious exploiters of exotic animals who continually adds to the problem by his incessant breeding and who bragged for two years about how he was going to win millions from us through his invalid claims of slander and libel.

As important as this legal victory is, it is secondary by far to the victory won by our followers on Facebook and those who sign up as Advocats on our website who responded to our requests over the last few years to email and call the venues who host such exploitative displays by Schreibvogel and other exhibitors to show the venues that a large, growing number of the consumers they want as customers love animals and view such exploitation of animals as inhumane, and that hosting such exhibits hurt their image with those consumers. Owners of hundreds of venues have been educated through your efforts and agreed not to have such displays. This has saved many, many tiny tiger cubs from the misery of being carted around and tormented in these displays.

Our attorney Frank Jakes at the Johnson, Pope law firm is our hero for the outstanding work he and his associates did for us in handling this lawsuit.

YOU are the heroes who have saved so many cubs from the misery of these traveling exhibits. We have made tremendous progress on stopping this abuse, and with your critical continued help we plan to eliminate it altogether. Thanks so much for standing with us in this battle that we are winning together!

 

The public record court documents:

Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment for Plaintiff (DismissingJoeSchreibvogelCounterClaim)

BCR Consent Final Judgment (Trademark) signed by judge

BCR Consent Final Judgment (Trademark) signed by parties

BCRvsJoeSchriebvogel-OrderGrantingImmediateRegistrationofJudgment

BCR Consent Final Judgment (Copyright 1)

BCR Consent Final Judgment (Copyright 2)

Big-Cat-Rescue-Trademark-Certificate

Some people are asking what will happen to the animals at GW Exotics, and that too is up to Joe Schreibvogel.  He made the choice to use our name, logo and photos and the fate of his animals is in his hands as well.  We can’t make him do the right thing for them, but we hope he will.

40 Comments

  1. I'm with Zabu on this one, for real – that is my face too right now!

  2. well well well…this news has just made my day! woot woot!

  3. OMG that is absolutely FANTASTIC news! Amazing what banding together to share the truth about his exploitive business has been able to do! And either BCR gets a bunch hunk of $ to help the cats, or (I can only dream) Joe has to declare bankruptcy and then maybe ALL of his cats get rescued and the breeding stopped – either way a big victory for the cats! WOO HOOOO!

  4. Three years ago after the rescue of Skip, forming of the group Skipaholics and becoming an advocate for BCR and what they stand for, I visited BCR. I was so totally mesmorized as to what a wonderful safehaven that they have and continuing to do for the Big Cats. Thank you Carole, Gail, Howard, Jamie, Meredith, Jeff and the rest of the volunteers for stepping up to the plate for these beautiful creatures of GOD. This is definately a victory for BCR!

  5. awesome news. congrats and thank you to all for your support and perseverance in this important issue. Safari Joe deserved this. Way to go !

  6. That is the best news I have heard in a long time. I'm so glad that POS got what he deserved. He is total scum. I hope this puts a dent in his sickening breeding practices. I still giggle about his claims that he would produce a sabre toothed tiger. What a freak! Congrats BCR!

  7. Oh WOW!!! THIS is great news! Thank you God! Thank you supporters!! Still lots of work to do….let's do it!!!!

  8. Outstanding! Thanks for all you do to educate people and protect these wonderful creatures!

  9. WOW!!!! BRAVO ! BRAVO ! BRAVO!!!!! What a victory for you, for our precious animal and for us :-) thank you so much <3 this is a great day :-)

  10. Wow!! What an awesome victory!! Some days I get discouraged. The story of Dolly broke my heart. I have to remember that a victory is in sight anytime I feel that way. I'll be 're reading this one with a big smile on my face!!

  11. Morale of the story? Good people always win! I really hope he will have to give up on his park, it's the best for the animals. When will you get the money?

  12. Is he actually being shut down and his current animals confiscated though? I salute you all for this win.

    • Lol NO. This case has NOTHING TO DO WITH ANIMALS. It is about COPYRIGHT. Most of you can't, or won't read.

  13. awesome news Carole, and BCR!

  14. Fantastic news! Such a great outcome for Big Cat Rescue and all the people who helped in making this happen. A big high-five for big cats and little cats, too. <3

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