Wildlife Waystation reopens; other big cat facilities are in big trouble

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

Closed to the public for nearly nine months by order of the California Department of Fish and Game for alleged permit violations, Wildlife Waystation resumed offering Sunday tours on January 7.  Housing about 1,000 animals on 120 acres in Angeles National Forest, California, the Waystation is still not allowed to take in any new raptors, reptiles, so-called game mammals, exotic birds, or exotic mammals, and is still working to meet runoff water quality standards. Primatologist Donald Anderson in October joined founder Martine Colette and executive director Bob Wen-ners on the management team, as the Waystation’s first formally credentialed curator.

Chancellor Frank V. Williams III of Roane County, Tennesssee, in mid-December ruled for the second time that the Tiger Haven sanctuary near Knoxville is “inherently dangerous” and has therefore been in violation of zoning since 1993. Williams’ previous verdict was overturnedby the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Tiger Haven was begun by then-wife-amd-husband Mary Lynn Rickard and Joseph Donovan Parker. They reportedly separated in September 2000.

Parker, convicted in 1990 of skimming bingo proceeds raised for other charities, for a time ran a bingo hall to fund Tiger Haven. Tiger Haven later turned to direct mail fundraising via Bruce Eberle, a former fundraiser for U.S. Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft. Ashcroft dropped Eberle in 1998 amid controversy over the size of Eberle’s cut. ANIMAL PEOPLE critically reviewed the Eberle record in animal-related fundraising in Sept-ember and October 2000.

The USDA on Decem-ber 15, 2000 charged the Siberian Tiger Foundation, of Gambier, Ohio, with multiple violations of Animal Welfare Act safety standards. The USDA closed the facility for 10 days after a tiger bit 10-year-old Ethan Newman in the leg on November 21, but founder Diana Cziraky allegedly opened to visitors while the suspension was in effect.

Ozark Nature Center owner Wayne Oxford, 57, of Versailles, Missouri, was charged with child endangerment in early December 2000, after an escaped puma ran into a house at the center and was locked within by staff while a boy was also inside. The boy hid as the puma killed a dog and six pups.

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