Big Cat Shelter Sign: No Freezer Dumps, Please
January 24, 2009
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A large cat shelter is making a big request
of its neighbors: No offerings of food, please.
Signs, posted on the Web page, front gate and private gate at
Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary in Frierson, are more
specific: "Please! Do not dump your frozen food or animal
carcasses at the gate."
Executive director Jenny Senier says such donations do not
happen very often but can be frustrating when food is left at the
"I do understand that people mean well and think, 'Hey, this is
going to go to waste – let me give it to the animals,"' she said.
Most people are thoughtful enough to call when their freezer
breaks down, asking if the sanctuary could use the contents for its
18 big cats (6 lions, 6 tigers, 3 servals, a cougar, a bobcat and a
The shelter can't use those offerings – lions and tigers don't
eat hamburger, much less the frozen dinners in one lot of the four
or so dumped by the gate this winter.
"We give them whole muscle meat, with the bone and hide," she
Even if she didn't insist on knowing where meat came from, for
the animals' safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture rules require
her to do so, she said.
Some of the meat, bones and hide she gets comes from deer
processing plants. Some comes from cattle or hog farmers.
"Last March it seemed like we were getting three or four cows a
week," Senier said.
"If a cow steps into a hole and breaks its leg, by law they
cannot put that into the human food chain," Senier said. "We work
with them on in-kind donations so they don't lose everything. But
we have specific people with that. And a vet who lets us know, `Hey
– we have this cow. it's safe."'
Even the freshest roadkill deer can't be taken because of the
chance of embedded glass.
If an animal must be killed for some reason, the shelter works
with area wildlife agents and police officers who know how to do
the job so the shelter can safely and legally use it, Senier said.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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