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Big Cat Rescue: Animal Finder's Guide Ads
Subject: Animal Finder's Guide Ads Placed by Carole Lewis Baskin
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?
(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.)
(BCRL note: female is very fat and on an excellent diet? Aren't exotic cats supposed to be lean?)
(BCRL Note: fat females must not sell well)
(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.)
(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!
(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 #36 (July 96)
(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)
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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