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Big Cat Rescue: Animal Finder's Guide Ads

Subject: Animal Finder's Guide Ads Placed by Carole Lewis Baskin
Source: The Animal Finder's Guide, A publication for the exotic animal industry

This is a published guide consisting mainly of classified ads allowing private owners of exotics to locate, buy, sell, and trade their  animals. In Carole Lewis Baskin's case, she also advertised for sale instructional books and videos on making house pets of exotic cats, which she personally wrote and produced. In addition, Baskin advertised her bed and breakfast where paying customers could rent a declawed exotic cat to sleep with them, putting both the cats and the customers at risk.

Carole Lewis Baskin, CEO and founder of Big Cat Rescue Tampa, claims to have begun rescuing exotic cats from unscrupulous owners, auctions, and fur farms in 1992 when she claims she became a "sanctuary". The truth is that Carole Lewis Baskin herself was the unscrupulous owner of these cats. 

Let's take a look at just some of the many ads placed by Baskin in The Animal Finder's Guide when she called her place Wildlife on Easy Street, well after the date she claims to have become a sanctuary. Does a sanctuary or rescue buy, breed, sell, trade or declaw exotic cats? Has Baskin been committing fraud for the purpose of donations?

Ad #1
"IF YOU ARE WILD ABOUT CATS check out Wildlife On Easy St at their new address: Meet our 100+ wildcats, join our membership or volunteer program and learn about exotic cats and more. To help fund this much needed Sanctuary we offer the video "Big Cat Companions" $28.00, the book "Exotic Cats As Housepets" $35.00, Bed & Breakfast at the refuge in Tampa, Fl $75.00 per night, and these special cats to the right person: Serval trio or caracal trio, proven $5000. cougar pair $600, cub $450 and 3/4 wild but 100% tame! Bengal F1 male kittens. Sire: Amurian Leopard Cat and Dam: F1 Bengal, raised in the house and too gorgeous for words $1000. 12802 Easy St., Tampa, Fl. 33625. 813 626 9155 Fl (BCRLies note: Baskin was calling herself a "much needed sanctuary" while selling serval, caracal, and cougar cubs and breeders along with a book she wrote on how to make house pets of them!) Date: 1997

Ad #2
"New Cat Video! Big Cat Companions is an informative and entertaining two hour tape from the same people who brought you "Exotic Cats As Housepets." More information on the most frequently asked questions, such as caging, teaching not to bite, leash training, diet and health care for tigers, leopards, cougars,lynxes, bobcats, and more. (13 species) How to get the most enjoyment out of your feline. 12802 Easy St., Tampa, Fl 33625. 813 626 9155

Ad #3
EXOTIC CATS AS HOUSEPETS VIDEO! Two hour tape depicting the trials and rewards of sharing our home with Bobcats,Servals, Caracals, Cougars, Ocelots, Margay, Canadian and European Lynx, and more (14 species). Learn bottle feeding, litter training, bathing, leashing and how to raise an exotic cat into a loving and trusting housepet. Great tips on out door cage construction, play yards, feeding. worming. and vaccinating. $28 12802 Easy Street, Tampa, Florida 33625. 813 626 9155 (BCRLies note: Notice that Baskin's "sanctuary" had 14 different species of exotic cats. These were cats purchased for her private collection).

Ad #4
Caracals and servals, proven breeders, $4500 pair. 813 626 9155 (BCRLies note: For anyone not familiar with the term "proven" it refers to the fact that these cats are proven by Baskin to be breeders.) Date: 1995

Ad #5
Serval and caracal kittens bottle raised in loving home, males $1500 females $1800 and one female (spotted) with white footed sire $2500. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #6
Bonded Pair of Siberians, 3 years this spring, $4,000 for pair 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #7
Otter, exceptionally tame male three months old, loves the house, loves people and pets, $1600. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #8
Jungle Cat male needed. Will buy, sell, or trade our related male. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #9
Caracal kittens starting at 1200 males and females from two litters bottle raised with much love and attention. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #10
Asian leopards, extremely tame 10 month brother and sister will walk on leashes, well mannered and lovable. Will need unrelated mates for them and will buy, sell or trade to match them up with cats of comparable age, size and temperament. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #11
Western cougar, large male, declawed and friendly to large approved facility only. $700. 813 626 9155 Fl Date: May 1995

Ad #12
Serval kittens bottle raised in loving home, four litters to choose from males $1500, females $1800 and one female (spotted) with white footed sire $2500. 813 626 9155

(BCRLies note: After being exposed Baskin finally admitted to "limited" breeding. These ads show that she was in fact a major breeder and seller of exotic cats.)

Ad #13
Caracal kittens starting at $1200, males and females from two litters, bottle raised with much love and attention. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #14
Jungle cat needed. Will buy, sell or trade our related male. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #15
Servals, exceptionally tame, unrelated two-year-old-pair raised in the house, love to ride in the car, friendly to everyone they meet! These are a one of a kind pair who will warm your heart and your bed. $5000 to approved family home only. 813 626 9155 Date: June 1995

Ad #16
Caracals and servals, proven breeders, $4500 pair. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #17
Caracal pair, proven $2500. All shots, wormed and on an excellent diet, female is very fat, male is stunning. 813 626 9155 Fl Date: August 1995

(BCRL note: female is very fat and on an excellent diet? Aren't exotic cats supposed to be lean?)

Ad #18
Bobcat kittens, four months old, unrelated pair, declawed, litter trained, live in the house but were not bottle raised and are barely handleable. The color and coats are incomparable and the male has mesmerizing eyes. $1100 for pair to suitable home only. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #19
Cougar male, tame, declawed, 200 pounds $350 to the right home! 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #20
Caracal pair, proven $2500. All shots, wormed on excellent diet, female is very fat, male is stunning. 813 626 9155 Fl Date: September 1995

(BCRL Note: fat females must not sell well)

Ad #21
Wanted: Ocelot male will buy sell or rent to breed to my house pet ocelot female. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #22
Cougar, female, very tame, declawed, three years, leashable. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #23
 Cougars, mated pair, very gentle and declawed, kittened 8-15-95 and had four female cubs. $700 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #24
Bed and breakfast in sunny Florida with over 100 large exotic cats. Rustic cottage, 40 acre farm and well-stocked lake are yours for $75.00 a night. No children please. 813 626 9155 Fl

(BCRL note: notice there is no mention of what is now  Big Cat Rescue being a rescue or sanctuary in this ad. It is described as a farm and B&B destination four years after Baskin claims she became a rescue and sanctuary.)

Ad #25
Caracals: trio proven $5000 or reserve upcoming litters (males $1500, females 1800) 813 626 9155 Fl Date: March 1996

Ad #26
Wanted: to buy or lease for breeding male ocelot, female clouded leopard, male african civet. We have two male black leopards born 02/23/1996 and wish to trade or buy (with cash) for unrelated female (black or spotted) of same age. 813 626 9155 Fl

(BCRL Note: these 2 black leopards are Jumanji and his brother Majik. Majik had medical issues from birth, which did not stop Baskin from trying to trade him. He was raised by former staff member, Jim Moore, who went on to have his own, legitimate, sanctuary. Jumanji was caged after a very serious attack. After years of being touted as a "former pet who's owner forced him to walk on a leash" Jumanji was "adopted" in 2009 for a $20,000 donation made by Chase Stockton of Panther International LLC of Clearwater.  Baskin accepted a $20,000 donation for a cat she bred and made a pet of while leading the public to believe he was rescued from an abusive owner!) This is fraud!

Ad #27
Servals: trio proven $5000: dam with three kits from 3-1-96 $5500 or the kits separate-males $1500, females 1800. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #28
Cougars, tame and proven pair $650 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #29
Bengal F2 males, raised in the house as a pet, very nice conformation, needs quiet home with lots of love $200 813 626 9155 Fl Date: April 1996

Ad #30
Cougars: tame proven pair $600 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #31
South American cougar cubs, DOB 3-7-96, mother only 65 pounds! $750 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #32
Caracals: kittens born 3-30-96 males &1500, females &1800 when weaned or $200 discount if you can bottle raise 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #33
Wildlife on Easy Street has bobcat kittens. Windsong, Raindance and Little Feather kittens $550 813 626 9155 Fl Date: June 1996

(BCRL NOTE: Windsong was Baskin's first bobcat which she, to this day, claims she "rescued" from an auction. Do rescues and sanctuaries buy cats at auctions to breed them and sell their kittens? Raindance and Little Feather we believe were kittens Baskin says, to this day, she "rescued" from a fur farm. Do you rescue kittens from fur farms to breed them and sell their kittens? Can anything this woman says be believed?)

Ad #34
Cougars, large tame pair $650. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #35
Servals, trio proven $5000 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #36 (July 96)
Bobcat breeder male $400 or gorgeous yearling pairs $100 813 626 9155 

Ad #37
South American cougar cubs $750, also one western $550 weaned and declawed 813 626 9155

(BCRLies note: Baskin routinely had her cubs declawed for public contact such as their use as "cabin cubs" in her bed and breakfast where they were pimped out to sleep with paying guests.)

Ad #38 (Sept 96)
Cougars: tame proven pair $600. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #39
Cougars: tame proven pair $600. 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #40
South American cougar cubs $450 813 626 9155 Fl

Ad #41
Servals: trio proven $5000 or pair $4500 813 626 9155 Fl

In Ad #1 Carole Lewis Baskin is asking you to fund her "sanctuary" by buying cats and kittens she has bought and bred. She would also like to pass her expert knowledge of raising these exotic cats to be "loving and trusting housepets" by selling you books and tapes that she has herself written and produced. Does this sound like a sanctuary? These ads are just ones we could find for 95' 96' one from 97', although Baskin bred for 8 years. Is this what Baskin and her husband describe as "a few" cats bought and "limited" breeding? Read Article

Baskin conveniently blames her missing (and declared dead) husband Don Lewis for buying, breeding, declawing and selling these cats, but Don Lewis did not write these ads, nor did he write the book telling people how to choose the best exotic cat as a pet, and it is Baskin herself who narrates the videos. Don Lewis disappeared in 1997 after filing for an order of protection against his wife Carole Lewis (Baskin) for threatening to kill him and Don's body has never been found. Baskin was asked to take a lie detector test and refused. There is a $20,000 reward being offered for information leading to the recovery of Don's body.

In March 2006 investigative reporter Chris Hawes of Bay News 9 discovered that all the cats listed on Big Cat Rescue's website as "born into the pet trade" were actually born right there at Big Cat Rescue from breeders bought by Baskin. Baskin was, and is, asking for donations to feed and care for cats that she had bought and bred! This is fraud! Once exposed, the website was quickly changed, and Baskin authored an Evolution of Thought" (later changed to "History and Evolution") explaining how she had a change of mind on breeding exotic cats. Perhaps a leopard can change it's mind but can it ever change it's spots, or in Baskin's case, it's character?

Baskin's continuing lies and misrepresentations would suggest that she has not changed at all. For instance, on her June 2011 facebook she mentions her leopard Sundari not being able to climb, as former owners had this poor cat declawed. Yet Sundari was born at BCR and it was Baskin herself who had the leopard declawed. She then passed the claws out to volunteers as souvenirs!

Baskin's breeding slowed when she had trouble finding buyers after selling many inferior kittens with genetic problems as well as severe illnesses. In 2008 customer J. Grument writes, "All the cats years ago that I have come into contact with that Carole Baskin sold came to us VERY ill. These obviously neglected animals are a testimony to Baskin's lack of respect for these animals and the people who are willing to care for them".  After many complaints from buyers and hassles with USDA over numerous animal welfare violations,  Baskin had a "change of heart", an "evolution of thought", her "epiphany", and simply converted her breeding stock and personal pets to "rescues" and began marketing her place as a tourist destination, claiming that Big Cat Rescue is dedicated "solely to abused and abandoned cats." THIS IS FRAUD! If you can't sell them because they are unhealthy, claim that "private owners" or "the pet trade" is responsible, assign them tear-jerking abuse stories, and exhibit them as "rescues"! Problem solved!

These ads were placed up to five years after Baskin claims she became a rescue and/or sanctuary. What rescue or sanctuary advertises cats for sale or trade? Cabins for rent with a wildcat? Were these cats rescued from abuse or abandonment? Or were they bought to be bred and the cubs taken from their mothers to be sold? view the video

View the original 1995 articles of incorporation showing that Baskin's true purpose was breeding cats. Cats bought, sold, and traded are not rescues. Carole Lewis Baskin is lying to the public and needs to stop begging donations for cats she bought and bred. Since being exposed here she has come out with videos and statements that "some" of BCR's cats were bought or bred there and that she has always been upfront about it. Why then does she continue to claim she became a sanctuary in 1992 and is dedicated solely to abandoned and abused cats? Did she abuse them? She is still lying to the public for donations! A leopard cannot change their spots.

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