Donor to give $500,000 to Kozlowski’s Wisconsin lion and tiger refuge

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Lee Newspapers, wire reports | No Comments Posted | Posted: Sunday, December 24, 2006 12:00 am

An anonymous out-of-state backer is prepared to give $500,000 toward construction of a lion and tiger refuge on 27 acres at the south edge of the village, cat rescue advocate Jeff Kozlowski says.

Rock Springs Village Board officials told him to come back next month with a business plan and drawings of the proposed refuge before they would consider approving the project.

The proposed site for his 24 felines is on land now owned by former Village President Dorothy Coens, Kozlowski said. He presented his plans along with members of the newly formed non-profit group, The Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Educational Center.

Kozlowski said his benefactor wants to remain anonymous.

Kozlowski has been in conflict with Sauk County authorities since he established a refuge for abandoned or mistreated lions, tigers and leopards just east of the village on Highway 136. Neighbors have complained about noise, an increase in traffic and possible risks from the animals.

During a meeting last week, village resident and refuge supporter Harlan Behnke said the board could set any rules members think are needed for the proposed center. The refuge could be an attraction that would bring visitors to Rock Springs and benefit local businesses, he said.

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