AdvoCats, James Scott and daughter Debra Scott
Take Big Cat Rescue to Tallahassee
My dad and I are avid BCR supporters, and we make a point of talking to people about the sanctuary and handing out newsletters at every opportunity. However, we thought that setting up a table at our annual Springtime Tallahassee festival would be a great way to reach a large number of people in this area, and introduce them to the important mission of the sanctuary.
My artistic daughter helped us create two boards with pictures of cats at BCR. We set up a folding table with a nice tiger print tablecloth and put out newsletters and brochures. People were coming to the booth to look at the beautiful pictures before we were completely set up. Some had heard of the sanctuary, and were thrilled to see them represented in Florida’s capitol city. Others were from the central Florida area, and had told us they had been meaning to go, but never got around to it. Their interest in making a visit was definitely renewed after we told them how beautiful the animals are and how wonderful the people are who volunteer to make their lives so much better. We even had an inquiry from a local teacher who wanted to plan a unit on big cats. We were sure to point out the website to each person so that they could go home and read more online and look at the video clips. Since so many people are on the computer these days, we had an overwhelming response to telling them about the website and many showed interest in the videos available.
We also had an advocacy letter, addressed to Governor Crist, available for visitors to sign. Each person who signed a letter received a raffle ticket for a prize (BCR video tapes, bracelets, a two for one pass to the sanctuary and a plush lion).
We were at the festival from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and had passed out over 300 pieces of literature on BCR. The response to the sanctuary’s mission was so overwhelmingly positive, that my dad and I left feeling like we had really done a fantastic job in raising awareness of the plight of big cats as a result of the pet trade and breeding. We are looking into setting up a table at a local festival in November and definitely plan to set up next year at Springtime Tallahassee.
Debra Scott 4/1/07
There are so many ways that our AdvoCats can help, no matter where you live. The following is the summary of the event that Debra Scott sent to Carole Baskin, and it is posted here to show what you can expect if you decide to do a similar tabling event.
Summary for Carole
· Of the huge stack of newsletters you sent us, we have about 100 left.
· Passed out 12 donation envelopes
· Passed out over 300 pieces of literature in all;
· Received a $20 donation in cash and a $500 donation online from a booth visitor
· Got approximately 50 advocacy letters signed; spreadsheet of info will be coming
· The pictures of cats were so intriguing to people that hardly anyone noticed the raffle sign. We had to promote the letter when possible, so we likely missed some potential signers when we had several people at the table;
· Passed out 50 (all I had) of the double sided color page entitled “What is Big Cat Rescue / Examples of Big Cats rescued. This one pager was very popular because it was in color and many read it while standing there.
· Pointed out the website to everyone and told them about video clips
· I was surprised at the rather large number of people who didn’t want to take materials because they didn’t want to carry them through the festival; but I was sure to tell them of the website.
· One teacher came through and was planning a big cat segment for her classroom. I pointed her to the website and told her that BCR had educational coordinators that would be a valuable resource for her. She seemed thrilled.
· Will be mailing out the prizes..will draft a short letter for your approval later today
· Had approximately 3 requests about having an animal to pet or take pictures with – used this opportunity to explain the mission of the sanctuary. Seemingly positive responses and definite shocked faces when I got to the part about canned hunts and all the breeding to get and keep small animals for photo ops.
· Quite a number of people had read recent articles about the Toyger breeding in California and asked about that. I had read the articles too, and could talk to them about that, as well as all the breeding that takes place just to get a white tiger so this (Toyger issue) might be a good website topic?
· A few cases where the parents were being dragged over to the booth by the kids who spotted the pictures. We definitely took this opportunity to engage the parent and often got an advocacy letter signature from it
· Many had their own rescue stories of domestic animals to share – and many commented on how rescue animals were always preferable to buying one from a breeder (so glad to hear that!)
· I had two copies of the 4 pager color document entitled BIG CATS MAKE BAD PETS. It was looked at A LOT. I gave one copy to a lady who had 5 kids with her and went into detail explaining to them about why they make bad pets. If I had thought to have more copies of this, it would have been a popular item, I think.
· One lady was familiar with the “playboy bunny” in Miami that has animals – she wasn’t aware of the cougar that bit the girl in the face until I told her and explained why BCR doesn’t do that.
· Had the opportunity to talk about Haley Hildebrand several times and the hopeful pending legislation outlawing that sort of contact.
· Had a few inquiries on the kind of “cage” the animals were in, explained the cat-a-tats and the open space – no concrete. Many times, people were relating to an animal they saw in a local zoo (one lady specifically mentioned Busch Gardens) that they were unhappy with the enclosure and surroundings.
· Had one inquiry on the food. I think it was a sincere inquiry and not coming from someone who wanted to make an issue.
· Had one inquiry if I was the lady from Havanna. When I said “no”, she said thank God. Then she asked if BCR was the place she trained. When I said no to that, she then stepped in and wanted a newsletter and more information.
· Had only one person approach that I felt was definitely out to attack – she asked who the owner was and what she did for a living. She asked specifically about breeding, and I explained about the difference between the early 90’s and now and that there is more in depth about that on the website. She was definitely taking it all in so she could relay the display to another person – she stayed about 5-6 minutes.
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