I was in Florida last week for a mini-vacation and visited Big Cat Rescue. This is the group that came to the rescue of Cookie and Alex, tigers, and Freckles, a liger. A Gore Springs, Mississippi man we’d worked with in the past was having to close his big cat sanctuary. Financial problems and a change in life-plans caused him to move from the area. Rita Montgomery, their faithful caregiver, continued to care for the animals for months after her salary was suspended and her husband, Don, our groomer, made needed repairs to their quarters during this time. Not being set up for large cats we reached out for help. Big Cat Rescue came forward. They drove up from Tampa and took the three cats back to their new home. Visiting them brought tears to my eyes.
I first meet Freckles when we took on one of the most egregious cruelty cases we’ve worked. Catherine Twiss bred and bought 86 lions, tigers, bears, cougars, a camel, and Freckles, the liger. These animals lived in knee deep waste, cattle bones, and urine. Their water containers had been chewed far beyond use. The animals were watered when Catherine and her husband walked by their cages spraying hose water into their shamefully tiny, filthy cages. I could go on about the horrid conditions, but I'll spare you the gory details.
The story of freeing the animals from this nightmare is lengthy, filled with victories, much good will and effort, but not happily ever after for all of the animals. These cats would have to adjust to another home and new caregivers. They were however blessed that their new home and dedicated guardians would be with Big Cat Rescue. We’re grateful to this outstanding organization for caring for theses and the 130 other animals they have rescued.