On Saturday, July 25, 2009, Sue Arnold of Okeechobee will be exhibiting animals at Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Ft. Pierce, FL. She has exhibited animals at this facility on previous occasions, including a presentation last summer that included a caracal and a baby cougar.
Ask Heathcote Botanical Gardens to reconsider their support of Sue Arnold and inform them that Big Cat Rescue is frequently contacted to take in wild and exotic cats from pet owners who have purchased these animals from Sue Arnold. Heathcote Botanical Gardens may be unaware that Sue Arnold contributes to the wildilfe trade as a breeder of wild cats including servals, caracals, bobcats and cougars, which are often sold into the pet trade.
The baby cougar named “Kowe” that Sue Arnold was exhibiting as a “Florida Panther” at Heathcote Botanical Gardens last summer was sold last year to Roger Newson of Ft. Pierce, FL, who is not USDA licensed, so obviously the cat was sold as a pet. It was reported that the very same day that Roger Newson brought home the seven week old cougar the cat regurgitated any food that she ate, and she was diagnosed and had to be treated for a heart condition called “Persistent Right Aortic Arch”. (Roger Newson’s account of the cougar’s illness was published in a Feline Conservation Federation Newsletter, Volume 52, Issue 5- September/October 2008).
Despite the fact that Sue Arnold apparently sold him a sick animal, Roger Newson is still one of her supporters and even brought the now one year old cougar “Kowe” back to Sue Arnold’s facility to be exhibited at her open house on June 20th. Sadly, Mr. Newson is one of many who mistakenly believe that Sue Arnold actually helps animals.