Central FL Animal Rescue’s Move is Postponed Again

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VIERA — Zapped by zoning requirements, Central Florida Animal Reserve officials plan to perform more legal research on their proposed exotic-cat compound near Scottsmoor.The big-cat rescue group must move from its Canaveral Groves home to a properly zoned site. So CFAR wants to build a larger home for its 51 lions, tigers, cougars and leopards on 17 rural acres off U.S. 1, near the Volusia County border.

But because limited public tours would eventually occur, county code classifies this proposed complex as a zoological park, Assistant County Attorney Christine Lepore told the Brevard County Commission Thursday.

According to a 1979 zoning ordinance, Brevard zoological parks — including "serpentariums, aviaries and large public aquariums" –cannot construct cages within 300 feet of a residential property line.

Cage locations depicted in the CFAR site plan fail to meet this requirement, Commissioner Chuck Nelson said.

"What you're setting yourself up for is failure," Nelson said.

For the third time since February, commissioners decided to table a decision on a captive-wildlife permit for the Scottsmoor site. This time, debate resumes in September.

CFAR President Thomas Blue remarked he was surprised by the zoological-park classification, as did Commissioner Andy Anderson.

About 10 residents in the vicinity of the target site lobbied for commissioners to reject the proposal. Eloise Shamblin, who lives next door, believes it is merely a matter of time before a deadly cat escapes.

"Of course, their security will be 'fail safe.' We all have seen examples of fail safe security in the Gulf of Mexico," Shamblin quipped, referring to the BP oil spill.

Harold Birkhead, another potential neighbor, said he does not want to patrol his property with a shotgun while his grandchildren play in the yard.

"Tigers jump 20 feet. (CFAR's) really good-natured, these people — they're going to put an 8-foot fence up. Hell, I could pole vault over an 8-foot fence and I'm 76 years old," Birkhead said.

Conversely, Candy Bradshaw lives next door to CFAR's current Canaveral Groves caged compound. She said she was apprehensive when she moved in a little more than a year ago, but she now loves the furry carnivores.

"I don't have a problem with the noise. I don't have a problem with the odor. I have my nieces, great-nieces, great-nephews all out in the yard," Bradshaw said. "My mom lives there with me. She loves to hear them."

Commissioner Trudie Infantini asked if the county could lease CFAR a site on Environmentally Endangered Lands property. Lepore said that land use is likely incompatible, but county staffers can research the idea.

Contact Neale at 242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com.


Those who wish to end the trade in big cats in FL should come to the June meeting and speak up for the animals:

See the agenda here:  http://myfwc.com/COMMISSION/2010/Comm_10_AgendaJun.htm

We will be speaking up against Fox Penning and making suggestions to the language on some other items as well.  If you can be there it really helps for the FWC to see that the public cares.  They usually hear mostly from hunters, breeders, dealers and animal exploiters so it is little wonder that they think it is perfectly OK to use wild animals for blood sports and pets.

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

Caring for cats – Ending the trade

Join more than 14,000 Big Cat Rescue fans http://www.facebook.com/pages/Big-Cat-Rescue-Tampa-FL/122174836956?ref=ts

Twitter:  Follow Me and get a free wild cat screen saver or ecard account @BigCatRescue

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