After an owner lost his legal battle to keep custody of his four big cats, they have finally been moved cross country. Three tigers and a leopard have been loaded and moved from New York to their new home at The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota.
Once transfer of custody was arranged, the non-profit sanctuary began construction of the initial habitat areas where these cats now live. After spending several months adjusting to their open space, the cats will be released into much larger permanent habitats at the sanctuary. They'll enjoy pools and other amenities, while having room to roam for the first time in their lives.
Tammy Thies, The Wildcat Sanctuary's Executive Director, is overseeing the sanctuary's part in the rescue. She explained, "The cats are in great shape and have good temperaments. This isn't often what we see with privately-owned big cats. We can tell the owner cared for his cats and their well-being."
In this unusual instance, the owner took good care of his cats, they are happy and healthy, and he had done everything according to the NY state and federal regulations. The legal issues revolved around local zoning changes and instead of being grandfathered in with his cats (as happens in many cases where laws change), he was forced to find them a new home or face jail time. The cats will have a great life at The Wildcat Sanctuary, but moving day was a bittersweet day, with the owner making the best choice for the cats he loved rather than leaving their fate to the state.