Deadline Looms For Big Cats Owners To Register Or Be In Violation Of The Law

In a remarkable transformation, what was once an expanse of vast enclosures housing over 200 tigers has now dwindled down to a mere 39. And for Howard Baskin, that is precisely the outcome he had hoped for.

“It was an enormous amount of work,” Baskin reflected, contemplating the journey that led to this pivotal moment. “An enormous amount of expense.”

During a recent tour of Carole and Howard Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, the couple showcased how they have ingeniously connected the remaining cages, creating more spacious environments for the cats residing within their sanctuary.

However, a significant deadline looms for private owners of big cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, recently passed, requires them to register their animals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Sunday, effectively concluding the era of unregulated private ownership.

“They’re not allowed to breed more or to acquire more,” Baskin explained, emphasizing the need for accurate documentation. “Well, how are you going to determine whether they did or not? The only way to do that is to have a baseline of what animals they owned.”

While the government does not intend to seize any cats from private owners immediately, the long-term objective is to phase out private ownership altogether, potentially leaving the Baskins with more cages than cats.

“If they have not registered by tonight at midnight, then they’re in violation of the law,” Baskin cautioned. “If they’re discovered, they will have their cats confiscated and face other penalties.”

Despite some reservations about the Netflix documentary series ‘Tiger King’ and its portrayal of their organization, Baskin acknowledged its role in raising awareness for their cause.

“It built an awareness that we had no other way to build,” Baskin acknowledged, recognizing the impact of the series. “So when we talked to legislators and staff, they at least knew of this issue.”

Baskin further noted that his initial conversation with Carole, his wife, revealed a broader aspiration to enact change beyond the confines of the Big Cat Rescue.

Last week, Representative Kathy Castor, who had represented the Baskins in the early stages of their journey over 20 years ago, visited the sanctuary to commemorate the passing of the law.

“I have watched this refuge grow,” Castor reminisced about her involvement. “Unfortunately, it’s grown because too many people have been abusing these big cats.”

Looking ahead, the Baskins have plans to relocate all their cats to a refuge in Arkansas by the end of the year. They also intend to sell the Big Cat Rescue land, utilizing the funds to propel their advocacy efforts even further.

As the final day for private owners to register their big cats under the new legislation draws near, the landscape of big cat ownership and conservation is on the brink of transformation. The Baskins’ unwavering dedication and the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act signify a step toward safeguarding these majestic creatures and promoting responsible stewardship in the years to come.

You might also enjoy these articles…

RSVP Photo Banner for Cancer Care Paw event

A Paws for Wellness: The CancerCare PAW Program and the Support It Offers to Those Fighting Cancer

In the grueling fight against cancer, patients often seek comfort in the steadfast company of their pets. The joyous wag of a dog’s tail or the gentle nuzzle of a cat can speak volumes in silent, understanding support. This unbreakable bond has not gone unnoticed by CancerCare, which has embarked on helping patients who are also the proud caregivers to their beloved animal companions. The Pet Assistance and Wellness Program (PAW) by CancerCare honors the role pets play in the lives of the patients by providing a much-needed support cushion during their treatment.

girl with cat lonely

How Cats Alleviate Loneliness

The global pandemic has brought loneliness into sharp focus, shedding light on a long-standing struggle for many. Lockdowns and social distancing have unveiled the emotional toll, underscoring the importance of companionship. In these isolated times, pets, particularly cats, have emerged as silent champions, providing much-needed solace and companionship.

Cat DIY Hammock

DIY Cat Hammock

Looking for a fun, feline-centric project for the weekend? Try this DIY Hammock! Crafting a cozy haven for your feline friend doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, with a little creativity and some basic supplies, you can create a stylish and...
Rolling cat cute green eyes looking happy with a content facial expression - The Catnip Times

Study Finds Cats Have 276 Facial Expressions

Cats, our enigmatic feline friends, have long been masters of the subtle art of communication. A recent study, published in the journal Behavioral Processes, delves deep into the world of cat expressions, uncovering a whopping 276 distinct facial cues when these furry companions interact with each other.

Domestic cat looking at cupcakes.

Surprising Foods You Need to Keep Away from Your Cat

Cats are curious creatures by nature, and this inquisitive disposition often extends to their diet. However, as pet parents, it is incumbent upon us to be vigilant about what goes into their feeding bowls. Keeping them away from potentially harmful foods is not just...
Calico shelter cat sleeping outdoors at Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome, Italy

Largo di Torre Argentina: Where History Meets Cat Sanctuary

Nestled amidst the timeless beauty of Rome lies a treasure trove that marries history with the heartwarming presence of ‘gatti,’ or cats in Italian. The Area Sacra in Largo di Torre Argentina, an archaeological gem, has recently flung open its gates to human visitors after being shrouded in mystery for almost a century. What makes this site truly unique? It’s not just the ancient ruins that attract visitors from around the world, but the thriving community of feral cats that has called this place home for the last 100 years.