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Abandoned animals find new home at Tampa's Big Cat Rescue

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The Tampa shelter for abused and abandoned large exotic cats, Big Cat Rescue, will welcome new residents. Three bobcats, two lynx and one serval will soon call Tampa home.

The cats used to live in Atchison, Kan. along with a tiger, two cougars and two skunks at a property. Their owner abandoned them in their enclosures when state authorities found them. The animals had no access to food or clean water.

The Atchison County Sheriff's Office took the animals into custody under the state's Dangerous Regulated Animals Act and the animal cruelty code. The Humane Society of the United States, Big Cat Rescue, In-Sync Exotics and the Kansas City Zoo took the animals to sanctuaries around the country.

Staff members and a volunteer veterinarian from Big Cat Rescue traveled to Kansas last Saturday with a modified tiger transport trailer to help bring the big cats to Tampa.

Kansas law doesn't allow residents to keep dangerous regulated animals, including big cats, as pets. But it is legal for people who have a U.S. Department of Agriculture license to maintain an inventory of dangerous animals.

"As evidenced in this tragic case, the USDA does not usually remove wild animals even when an owner's license has been revoked or canceled," said Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. "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."

"Owning exotic large cats is unsafe for both the animals and the community."  Midge Grinstead, Kansas state director for the Humane Society said, "it was sad to see these large, wild cats abandoned in flimsy cages from which they could have easily escaped."

 

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