By Brian Bridgeford
Baraboo News Republic
The recent death of a young lion is not a concern for federal and county authorities regulating a rescue center near Rock Springs, officials say.
During last week’s Sauk County Public Health Board meeting a public health official reported that one of the 23 big cats at the Big Dad’s Big Cat Rescue and Education Center was missing, said Rose White, chairwoman of the board. When the health official spoke to refuge owner Jeff Kozlowski, he said a young lion was being kept in a cage with two female tigers and they killed it.
The lion and the two juvenile tigers were all about a year old and had been raised together, Kozlowski said. The lion was actually somewhat larger than his two cage mates, but was killed by an injury to his throat in early June.
“(The lion and one tiger) just ended up in some rough play,” he said. “The problem is when these animals play, you got to remember they’re not puppies or kittens. The problem is they’re playing around and one grabs (the other) by the throat and there’s no one around.”
Kozlowski has a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture to operate his refuge and it requires regular veterinary care and proper feeding of the animals, said Darby Holladay, a spokesman for the USDA animal and plant inspection service in Washington. The death of a single animal is not a concern under the
Sauk County Public Health Officer Beverly Muhlenbeck said the lion’s death does not violate any county laws.
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