The Humane Society of the United States, Big Cat Rescue based in Florida, and others like them have been leading the way in the fight to ban private ownership of big cats as pets for quite some time. Following is another sad example of why this crusade continues and why further public support is necessary.
As reported on May 6, 2013 by the StarTribune, authorities found a tiger, two mountain lions, three bobcats, two lynx, a serval and two skunks on private farmland in rural northeast Kansas. The animals were living in inadequate chain-link enclosures. It was not only dirty; the animals were improperly fed and cared for.
Atchison County Sheriff Jack Laurie told reporters that authorities became involved in early March after receiving a complaint leading to the seizure of the animals. The owner became combative during the seizure, and authorities found methamphetamine. He was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges, including interference with law enforcement and disorderly conduct. He also faces 10 misdemeanor charges related to the care of the animals.
Big Cat Rescue, the largest accredited sanctuary in the world devoted entirely to rescuing abandoned and abused exotic cats, calls this story “the most daring rescue ever.” They will provide a permanent home for the three bobcats, two lynx and the serval.
“As evidenced in this tragic case, the USDA does not usually remove wild animals even when an owner’s license has been revoked or canceled,” said Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. “Law enforcement, taxpayers and sanctuaries are left to shoulder the financial burden for irresponsible people who acquire these animals and then fail to provide proper care. Sadly, this is a perfect example of why this country cannot regulate its way out of the chronic problem of people owning, abusing and then abandoning dangerous wild cats. Banning the private ownership of big cats as pets is the only answer.”
During the seizure, staff with the Humane Society of the United States and the Kansas City Zoo helped sedate the animals and prepare them to be moved. The Humane Society reported that in addition to the animals taken by Big Cat Rescue, a tiger was shipped to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas; two cougars were sent to In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie, Texas; and the skunks went to Operation Wildlife in Linwood, Kansas.
“When private citizens keep wildlife as pets, especially big cats and other large, powerful animals, it almost never turns out well. It’s also a potentially deadly situation for the owner or other people who must live or work around these animals. That’s why we’ve been leading the charge nationwide to prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals as pets,” said Wayne Pacelle , HSUS, in his blog post of May 7, 2013.
It was reported that the owner is cooperating with authorities, and the Humane Society said the animals will be held at the sanctuaries pending the final disposition of the case.
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