Texas Rescue funded by Wildcat Safety Net
February 19, 2010
Jeff Kozlowski, founder of Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue & Educational Center contacted the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) to apply for financial assistance through the FCF's Wildcat Safety Net Fund to transport two white tigers, three leopards and one puma recently seized by county officials in Marion County, Texas.
A disposition hearing conducted on February 4, 2010 at Marion County's district courtroom regarded the seizure of more than 50 animals from 950 Lewis Chapel Road, where former circus queen Barbara Hoffman and her business partner, Fred Lulling, reside.
Ms. Hoffman and Lulling were arrested and charged on six counts of animal cruelty. County and state officials seized domestic and exotic animals, including 10 jungle cats. Dr. Carol Hedges, a local veterinarian who assisted at the seizure, testified that most animals appeared to be in good health, however, she considered their cramped confinement to be animal cruelty.
Officials obtained a warrant to seize the animals after being notified the couple was illegally harboring the wild cats. At the disposition hearing, an agreement regarding the cats was reached. Criminal charges against Ms. Hoffman and Lulling were dropped and the wild cats were given up to Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and other Texas wildlife facilities.
The FCF Board of Directors quickly approved the Wildcat Safety Net committee's recommendation to grant up the maximum amount of $1,000 to Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Educational Center to cover their fuel and other transport related expenses to relocate these felines. Additional donations to aid this transfer can be donated to the FCF Wildcat Safety Net fund in the name of the Wisconsin facility, and will be forwarded.
Mr. Kozlowski estimated the cost of rescue at $4,000.00 to $5,000.00, explaining, "This will cover transporting the cats, the building of caging, food, and vet care when they get here." Jeff and volunteers drove down to Texas and transported the 6 cats back to Wisconsin.
"These cats have been housed in cramped roll-out cages for way to long, so let's get them to a place they will be safe, can roam around in grassy enclosures, have plenty of enrichment, and good health care. We'll give these cats a chance at a peaceful and happy life, and a chance for the public to learn about them."
The FCF Safety Net committee was grateful that these great cats could be relocated to suitable environments and certainly commends Mr. Kozlowski and his volunteers for their efforts. Executive Director, Lynn Culver stated, "We are happy that the FCF Wildcat Safety Net could grant the funds to cover the cost of this relocation effort. Once again, the private feline community and our supporters cooperated to insure endangered felines are safe from harm."
Mr. Kozlowski worked with two other Wisconsin facilities to provide permanent placement for the tigers and cougar, and the three leopards are now residing at Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Educational Center.
The Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with a membership of wild feline managers, educators, conservationists, researchers, and those who support the mission of feline conservation.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Wildcat Safety Net Fund or the FCF General Fund visit the Support FCF page.