OH newspaper covers our impending rescue

County takes over care of tigers, lions


By Pamela Schehl , News Staff Reporter

Posted: 07:27 AM, Tuesday, October 09, 2007

GAMBIER — Ownership and control of the four tigers and two lions housed on Deal Road has been turned over to Knox County. On Sept. 28, Judge Otho Eyster decreed that the animals’ “care, custody and control” be placed with the Knox County Animal Protection Officer “so he can complete placement of these abandoned animals with the proper authorities.”


According to court documents, the animals are considered to have been abandoned by Diana McCourt and The Siberian Tiger Conservation Association, “as they were left in their cages, upon the owners leaving the facility based on a (previous) eviction order.”


With the assistance of Dan Vickers of the Humane Society of the United States and Dean Hunt of the Columbus Zoo, Knox County Dog Warden/Humane Officer Roger Reed has arranged for the animals to be placed with Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Fla.


“Our main objective,” said Reed, “is to protect the welfare of the cats, so they can live out their lives being safe, healthy and happy.”


To help make the transfer of the big cats less traumatic for them, Reed said, Hathaway Construction is building a smaller enclosure in which the big cats will be fed. Then, when the rescue people take custody, the cats will be transferred to a truck through the smaller cage, in an arrangement somewhat similar to how circus cats are ushered into the main tent.


Reed would like to thank everyone who has helped care for the animals and those who donated food.


“Carol Bohning donated pounds and pounds of chicken and Mike Stapleton gave us beef. They saved the taxpayers of Knox County a ton of money,” said Reed.


To help ensure the cats’ safety, the owners of the Deal Road real estate, Donnalynn and Christian Laver, are allowing no unauthorized visitors onto the premises. And, Reed said, “there’s security on the property.”



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