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Big Cat Rescue: Boarding is Not Rescue

Subject:  Boarding Is Not Rescue
Sources: Baskin's 2001 Daily Log and The 2011 Vounteer Website

Carole Lewis Baskin's Big Cat Rescue is famous for it's tours. Day tours, night tours, kid's tours, feeding tours, keeper's tours, private tours, weddings, parties...anything to make a buck off exhibiting her collection of now retired pets and breeders.

This reporter and friends recently took a tour of Big Cat Rescue, Tampa Florida. At no point on that tour was it explained to our group that many of the cats being represented as "rescues" were actually Baskin's former breeders and personal pets. Likewise, at no point on the tour were we told that Baskin is paid to board the tigers retired there from Ringling Brother's Circus. All of the cats were represented as being "abused, abandoned, or former pets". Our tour guide repeated horror stories of cats suffering abuse and negligence that we now know are not true, but which were invented for the purpose of parting us from our money.

In an entry in Baskin's daily notes on Monday 04/02/2001, Baskin says, "wrote Ringling asking why they are 3 months behind on their boarding fees and asking for money for last cage and food prep." Ringling pays to board their tigers at BCR and apparently to also build their cages.

These daily notes were taken from Baskin's office along with USDA acquisition forms in Carole's own handwriting, inventories, a diary and many other incriminating documents by a former staff member who was disgusted with the lies, deceit and fraud being perpetrated on an unknowing public. 

Recently Baskin wrote Ringling again, this time asking them to move cats they had boarded at another facility to Big Cat Rescue under the same boarding agreement. Baskin mentioned having four tiger enclosures sitting empty. At the same time Baskin was claiming that she had no room to rescue more big cats.  See report # 20

Although the majority of the cats at Big Cat Rescue are not big cats at all but actually small exotics such as servals and bobcats, Baskin can and does make room for big cats on occasion. Usually these big cat "rescues" or re-homes follow reports such as this or rumblings among the volunteers. But even these legitimate rescues are selective; cougar cubs, tigers that come with board as in the case of Ringling, or lots of publicity and pleas for money for cages...even with four sitting empty.


SEPTEMBER UPDATE:

True to the above, Carole Lewis Baskin has now "rescued" three tigers from an accredited sanctuary (the only sanctuaries that  according to Baskin should be permitted to own exotic cats) that went under in San Antonio, Texas due to lies, deceit, fraud, and mismanagement of funds; the Wild Animal Orphanage.  There were about 20 tigers needing to be re-homed and Baskin stepped up to take the last three after a donor agreed to pay for their lifetime care, which Baskin claims is about $10,000 per cat per year. (Check with other owners of big cats and ask what it costs them).

Baskin said her "sanctuary" tourist attraction, which generated over two million in revenue last year, had an $882,355 excess and close to five million in assets, could not afford to "rescue" these three cats without the generosity of this donor. This would be better termed boarding or re-homing rather than rescue, since someone else is footing the bill. view article

"Now the man, who wants to remain anonymous, is paying for the animals' ongoing care — about $10,000 per year, per tiger. Without this couple's help, the 55-acre sanctuary near Westfield Citrus Park Mall couldn't afford to take them in." view article


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