Monday, June 21, 2021

Backyard Big Cats

If you follow me on social media or read my books, you've probably noticed my love for cats. This extends to felines of all shapes and sizes, including (and especially) tigers. My newest book, The Tigran Chronicles, is inherently a look at how humans treat animals and if we would be more respectful if they were part human. 

Right now there is action you can take to protect big cats in the United States from abuse at the hands of greedy humans. The Big Cat Public Safety Act is back in the hands of Congress and needs specific support to make the next steps in legislation. 

The Big Cat Public Safety Act for the 117th US Congress Session (2021-2023) has been reintroduced to the House of Representatives as H.R. 263 and has yet to be reintroduced to the Senate. It has been assigned to the Natural Resource Committee in the House.

This bill will accomplish two things. 

First, it will end private ownership of big cats. It is shocking how easy it is to purchase a tiger or lion or other wild cat and house them in your backyard. It is totally legal in many states. Your neighbor could buy a tiger and set up a cage in their yard. Not scary at all! A recent event in Houston, with a tiger escaping the garage where it was being inhumanely held, put a current spotlight on how this can go wrong. Fortunately, no one (including the tiger) was harmed in that escape. This is not always the end result.

Second, it will end cub petting and other hands-on entertainment that humans profit greatly from but is nothing but misery for the cats involved. In any breeding-for-profit scheme, the cats are always the losers. And once they are too old to handle, the cats are usually disposed of. A peek behind the curtain of that industry is truly horrifying. 

The number of reported tigers living in the U.S.A. (unreported not included)

  • AZA Zoos – 360 tigers
  • Sanctuaries – 500 tigers
  • Road Side Zoos – 2500+ tigers
  • Side Shows – 1000+ tigers
  • Circuses/Safari Parks – 400+ tigers
  • Animal Actors – 300+ tigers
  • Private owners – 2000+ tigers

CALL TO ACTION: Click here for an easy way to be in touch with your senator and ask for their support for this bill. Every bit of legislation that goes before the Senate needs people behind it, and this bill is no different. Let your senator know you are behind this bill and hope they will be as well. 

This is very personal to me. For the last seven years, I have volunteered at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for tigers, lions, bears, and other animals who have been rescued from neglectful and dangerous situations. I've seen little cubs who cannot stand because they have a bone disease that results from poor nutrition and inbreeding. Every cat comes with a story, and they are usually heartbreaking. Just in the last couple of months, the refuge has been involved in the rehoming of 68 more "Tiger King" cats--13 of them coming directly to Turpentine Creek. Now they will have a safe home for the rest of their lives, but how many animals still languish in small backyard cages?


Click here for more information and to stay up to date on how this bill is progressing.

As you plan your summer vacations, make sure you only support genuine refuges and sanctuaries. If they let you touch the cats, you are in the wrong place. Only as we respect these magnificent animals can we insure their safety for the generations to come.