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USDA Seizes 28 Big Cats From Animal Exhibitor

January 2002

In March 2001, PETA began receiving complaints about the use of big cats for photo ops at American Furniture stores, based in Colorado. We immediately contacted store officials to alert them to the cruelty of exploiting animals for profit and to provide information to them about Gatekeepers Wildlife Sanctuary, the outfit supplying the animals.

Gatekeepers, while masquerading as a “sanctuary,” was breeding animals and had repeatedly failed to comply with the minimal standards of animal care set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

We sent a statement to the USDA, along with documentation of the substandard conditions at the so-called “sanctuary” in Kansas. Some of the big cats were crowded into cages the size of dog runs, with no shelter. Many of the enclosures had wet, muddy floors with an accumulation of feces, and the animals were seen constantly pacing.

As a result, the USDA confiscated all the animals and gave them to the local humane society. The animals were found in various stages of malnutrition, and many were suffering from infected wounds from fighting. The state’s attorney charged the exhibitor with 28 counts of animal cruelty.