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Big cat rescue - almost!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Several weeks back the USDA came out to inspect and discuss some things with us. The local inspector and the regional director both came out, they wanted us to help with an upcoming raid on a facility. They were very pleased with our facility (standard inspection, no big deal) and asked us to take in, on a "temporary" basis, possibly as many as 20 large cats (lions and tigers). We considered the impact of preparing for such a large influx of animals, but decided the potential for good PR was worth the huge effort. (This translates as fund raising potential, which becomes more resources for the care of the animals. The facility is a non-profit and absolutely no one makes money off of this.) We pumped a combined total of $20,000 into materials for the new pens. This is supposed to be reimbursed from a sponsoring organization in a couple of months (but sure hurts in the mean time. We're talking out of people's pockets here, not some magical unlimited source.)

The materials were delivered a few weeks ago and the weather has been against us, but we've been building at a frantic pace. Heavy posts have been driven and cemeted into the ground, large (and expensive) den boxes built (still a bit to do, but close!), and much heavy equipment has been hard at work - along with a load of volunteers. The last of the construction was scheduled to finish this coming weekend because the cats were scheduled to arrive next week.

On a side note, lions and tigers are extremely different animals. Lions are much more dangerous, and do not take well to cold weather. The lion "dens" are actually large insulated houses, while the tiger dens are smaller individual sized houses primarily intended for the animal to be able to get out of the rain and wind. While generally most people seem particularly fond of tigers, I am much more drawn to the lions.

Well, we just got the word. The USDA was not actually running the raid, the local authorities were. The USDA's responsibility was primarily secure and transport of the animals. In all the legal run around surrounding this whole thing the people who have the animals have managed to remove 13 of the animals and may have the other 7 gone by the time the "raid" actually happens. (We were under the impression it was to be a surprise.) The USDA director is pretty mad too. We've got a promise of being at the front of a high profile rescue in the future, but that doesn't help these particular cats.

post #2 of 3
Oh George-

How sad for the cats that would have clearly been better off in your organization's hands. I hope that the next raid goes off effectively enough to secure all the abused cats into your facility.
post #3 of 3
Oh my.

I'm lost for words. After the amount of effort put in only to be let down in the end.
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