Big Cat Sanctuary

Big Cat Sanctuary
Just down the pike in the Florida panhandle is a privately run sactuary for big cats that was devasted by hurricanes last Fall. Most of the difficulties have been ovrcome but we thought you might be interested in their story.

This is the e-mail we received Sept. 8:

This is just a short letter to all of our devoted members and supporters. I am writing this to you with the help of a generator that we have until tomorrow. I do not know what we will do after this. They say we may not have power for a week or two. I hope this is not so.

First let me say that all of the animals are AOK. No one was injured. We had all of the big cats secured in their lockdowns. I never have been so nervous in my life. Even though we have excellent lockdown pens, there is always a possibility that a tree could be slammed into a pen and a cat get out. Gail and I walked the property for 48 hours with loaded 32 Winchesters knowing that if one of our babies got out, we would have to shoot them. It was terrifying.

For those of you who have visited and have come to know and love the EARS sanctuary, you are going to be very sad at what Francis did to us. Our big beautiful turnouts are ruined. I have never seen such a mess in my life. Many of our beautiful large oaks, GONE. It truly looks like a war zone here.

We will not be able to let the cats out of their lockdowns until we clear the downed trees (too many to count), and replace much of the wire. So, for those of you who were not affected by this monster storm, we sure could use some help if you would like to help, especially since we have another storm heading our way.

Also, please spread the word about EARS to all of your friends. I hate begging for donations as you all know, but it is going to cost a small fortune to repair the pens and get the sanctuary back in order. If you are due to renew your membership, please do so. We really need your support and physical help if you can help. Our address is: EARS Inc.
PO Box 30
Citra, Fl 32113
Phone 352-595-2959

After living through this storm and the fear that we went through praying that we would not have to destroy one of our babies we have designed, and plan on starting as soon as possible, fabulous hurricane proof lockdowns. What we have now is good, but what we have designed is far better.

We met with our Inspector today. She arrived at 8 am to check on us. After this storm, we are going to push legislation to force all facilities with big cats and bears to build comfortable secure hurricane proof lockdowns if they plan on having the exotic animals. The requried lockdown now is made with 9 guage wire. We use 4 gauge and the falling trees snapped it like straw.

I do not think that there is anyone alive that loves animals more than Gail and I and the thought of having to destroy one of the cats has literally got me sick. I will do whatever I have to do to raise money to build hurricane proof lockdowns for our animals. I never EVER want to go through this type of fear again.

As I said earlier, Gail and I did not sleep. We watched with flood lights as large trees were uprooted and falling all around us. We just kept saying to each other, how much longer will this last. Please let this be over. We were so exhausted.

Could you imagine looking into their eyes and having to shoot them. I wonder now that it is over, could I have done it or would I have tried to get them back in a stupid thing to do because they were all ready afraid of the storm. Remember, our perimeter fence was taken out by a huge tree on the highway and it takes awhile for a tranquilizing dart to take affect. We would not have been able to take the chance of one of them getting off of our property. Think how much damage a 800 pound tiger can do in a few minutes. See now why it is so important to have solid concrete and steel lockdowns? I saw what this storm did to us and if we had a direct hit, we would have had a potentially serious problem. You don't have to show me twice. I saw the light and we need to have much much better than what is required by law.

I am so thankful that Gail and I got a tree man out and removed all limbs above the lockdown dens this past week. That bill was close to $3,000.00, but well worth it. I am sure that this saved us. This storm took down a healthy three feet around live oak tree as if it was a toothpick. It uprooted it and many others.

Well, sorry to tell you about our bad news, but many of you are emailing me to ask, and I thought this would be easier for now. Please, please be safe and thank you all for all that you do.

Jaye Parrett
See photos of the Sanctuary and the big cats







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