Hello everyone. No, at the moment, I am not posting any new pictures. I have some, but I have some very important news that I have to tell everyone and for me, this is the most difficult thing I had to deal with in a very long time.
I guess I should do a little history here, for anyone new to this thread. I have been an exotic cat owner now for a little over 3 years. In this time, I have learned a great deal on responsible exotic feline care and about the laws and people who, either make it very difficult to own these wonderful cats or try to take away every right we have to do so. Now, don't get me wrong. I support fair regulations that support my right to own and live witht these cats as well as protect the public from irresponsible people.
Before Amber, our very first bobcat, came into our lives, I did a lot of research on the subject. In my state, it is leagl to own such an animal with the proper permit/license from the state. It was also leagl for me to own one in the county that I lived in at the time. However, when I checked my local laws in the city that I lived in at that time, I found out they had an ordinance agaisnt it. However, after reading this ordinance, the way it was written actually allowed me to own one, do to the poor wording of this oridance. So, I decided to bring home our very first bobcat. A year went by, I learned more and more and I was contacted by someone in another state who needed to quickly find a new home for their bobcat kitten. They were allowed to own one, but they went about it the wrong way and did not have the proper permits. (They needed the permits BEFORE the cat came into the state. They were aware of this, but did not follow my advice) So, they were at risk of losing this bobcat kitten. So my wife and I cameto the rescue and brought home our second bobcat kitten bundle of joy. You all know him as Boris.
About a half a year after Boris came to live with us, I knew I would need to move out of the city, somehwere where it was a little more open and had no ordinance agaisnt bobcat ownership, no matter how it was worded. So, my wife and I moved to the next county away. Before this move however, I called every place that I was looking, to check their rules on exotic animal ownership. When I called the township I live in now, no one ever returend my phone calls, no matter how many times I called. I must point out, that according to my state law, townships can not pass ordinances. The city I used to live in, had a population of approx 60,000. The county I now live in, has a population of about 93,000 and only has 1 small city in the whole county. There are a few small villages and the rest is township, made up of a lot of farm land.
Well, after we moved here, I was contatced once agin, by a lady in New York state who needed to find a home for an adult 5 year old male bobcat and wanted to know if I could take him in. Well, since he was an adult and so was Amber, I knew darn well, that Amber would not easily accept a new adult bobcat into her home. A kitten yes, but not an adult male. However, this bobcat had lived outside all it's life, so I knew I could build him an outdoor enclosure. But before I did this, I again wanted to make sure there was no laws preventing me from doing so. I called the township hall and left messages, no one called me back. So, I figured I had no problems. So, we decided to bring this rescue bobcat into our lives. You all know him as Nakoma. As I was going through all the legal state paperwork, I decided to call the township once again. Wow, I was finally able to speak with a person.(The township hall is open only 1 night a week for 2 hours!!) She looked up the laws and to my horror, I found out they had a ZONING ordiance against it. So, this was new to me. Townships can not pass ordinances, yet they can still pass zoning laws. After a few months of speaking with township officials they said, we really don't care, as long as there are no complaints. So with that, we brought Nakoma home.
Now, lets go foward a few more months. This is when we decided to bring home our cougar, whom you all know as Carmelo. Now, I knew with the way the zoning law was written, I would not be able to keep a full grown cougar here. So, I had been making plans to eventaully relocate AGAIN. In the mean time, once Carmelo reached a ceratin size, he would go to live at our friends facility, until I relocate to an area with no zoning what so ever. (As long as it is 5 acres or more, I will be ok).
Now, here comes the bad news. Back in May, I was working on the enclosure, when someone's dog came into our yard. The lady who owned him came by to get her dog, but saw Carmelo in the enclosure with me. She really didn't say much, got her dog and left. A month or so later, some kids stopped by to see Carmelo when I wasn't home, but my wife was. Even though we did not allow them to come near the enclosure, they saw our cougar and the rest is history. Kids talk and a cougar turned into a LION!! Now, these kids don't live in our township either. However, their mother spoke with someone in our township. The township trustees read their zoning and saw that this was not allowed. (It should be noted, that the same people who said it was ok, are no longer working with the township. They either quit or were voted out). So, as of a few days ago, I got a notice that told me that I have 30 days to remove the cougar and bobcat (Nakoma). They do NOT know about Amber and Boris, so they are safe for now. I spoke with the zoning inspector, to see if i could get a variance or an extension. I told him that I was planning to relocate. He spoke with the trustees and they said NO to a variance. However, they can not do this. I have the right to submit an application for a variance and it must be heard before the township meeting. I also have the right to an appeal. Now, are original plan was to move Carmelo to our friends facilty, once he reached 100 pounds, until we found a new place with more land. However, EVERYONE who lives close by us LOVES our cats. So, I figured there would be no problem and decided to keep Carmelo here until we moved. Well, all it took was this one woman and her STRAY dog. It should be noted here. This woman with her loose dog was in VIOLATION of STATE LAW!! I am in NO violation of any state or county laws. I wanted the prior township officials to put it in writting that they had no problem with my cats, but they never did. They just didn't care, but the new officials do. I guess the AR (Animal Rights) people got to them too. So, I am feeling quite sick right now. I am going to speak with each trustee and invite them here to see for themselves, Nakoma's secure enclosure. I want them to see that Nakoma, who weighs about 45 pounds, is no more a threat to anyone, than the dogs who RUN FREE in this area. I also want to point out, that this cat is native to my state and is an endagered protected species. If a "wild" bobcat was spotted in anyones yard, there is nothing anyone could do, unless the animal was sick or injured. I want them to do 1 or 2 things. I will relocate Caremlo, as originally planned, until I can move. However, i want them to grant me a variacne for Nakoma or at least give me an extension for 1 year to see if I can move by then. When the trustees come by, Amber and Boris will not be here. I should not have a probelm with them anyhow, they live mainly inside, but do like to go outside in the enclosure at night. This is ok, because no one can see them here at night. It is to dark and there is no lighting. It will be hard for me to move Carmelo, but we can see him any time we want. Our friend lives about 2 hours away and we go there to help them with their faciltiy as it is.
So, this is what has been going on. I cannot tell you what this is doing to me. It is not right that just a few people (the trustees) think they can take anyones rights away like this. I do not live in a city or village. I should be able to keep my cats here. It is my right as a free American. Well, we once were free, but we are losing that freedom every day and it just makes me sick