Investigation Request between Florida Fish & Wildlife & Big Cat Rescue Tampa

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4/5/2019 UPDATE
Once again, Big Cat Rescue has been given special permissions from Florida Fish & Wildlife.  Read the letter from Florida Fish & Wildlife here. 
Florida Fish & Wildlife failed to cite Big Cat Rescue for violation of  68A-9.010 Taking Nuisance Wildlife.  Instead, Big Cat Rescue has been given special permission to rehab bobcats not injured or in need of medical treatment while they were exploited for donations.  The facility was also been given special permission to relocate the bobcats out of the area they were found. 
While Florida Fish & Wildlife claim to have the most stringent wildlife regulations in the nation; these regulations appear to have a history of not applying to Big Cat Rescue Tampa as seen and documented for numerous years.  

3/26/2019
(Red links are live)  68A-9.010 Taking Nuisance Wildlife
Despite FWC Nuisance Wildlife regulations; it appears Big Cat Rescue took a healthy trapped bobcat and her babies from the wild in Orlando, illegally transported them to Tampa and cruelly put them in a cage in their “Bobcat Rehab Program” while exploiting them for donations.
 
3/24/2019 - Female bobcat gave birth while caught in a nuisance trap by a farmer in Orlando; the bobcats did not need rehabilitation.  Instead of the mother and her babies being (released off the capture site in a minimum of 40 contiguous acres in the same county according to FWC Nuisance Wildlife Regulations) the wild healthy animals were taken to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.  According to Big Cat Rescue the mother was freaked out by the people, noise and traveling.  Due to human interference, the  mother bobcat was put in a stressful situation which could have resulted in her killing the babies and being transported so far is now an issue. 

Big Cat Rescue blatantly disregards FWC Regulations posted on their own website:  “1/29/2009 The following is the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s position on killing nuisance bobcats instead of relocating them or allowing them to be given sanctuary at Big Cat Rescue and other such sanctuaries”…
"Update 2010:  Thanks to so many Big Cat Rescuers showing up to ask the FWC to protect the bobcat, they revised their ruling that all trapped bobcats must be killed to say that the bobcat must be released as close to the point of pick up as possible and that it must be on at least 40 acres, in the same county and there must be a signed approval for release by the owner of the property OR the bobcat has to be killed".

It appears the public has once again - been duped by Big Cat Rescue in believing a healthy mother bobcat and her babies need rehabilitation.  According to FL law, the bobcats were illegally taken out of the county where they were found trapped in a nuisance trap - in the wild.

The bobcats will be exploited for profits and live domestic rabbits/rats and other animals will unnecessarily, illogically and barbarically be tortured and ripped apart alive in the outdated unethical outdated rehab program.  A program that is detrimental to the survival of the bobcats “If” released because tame domestic rabbits and rats have no relation to wild animals and are not sitting in the wild waiting to be eaten.  Bobcats with natural born killing instincts are one of the most fierce predators and also scavengers having no need for teaching by humans.
Big Cat Rescue seems to have no respect for wildlife and domestic animal life with disregard of animal welfare.

The citizens of Florida Respectfully Request an overdue investigation by Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Inspector General into the Inspection Reports and relationship between the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and Big Cat Rescue Tampa. 
Documented Facts: Regulations are broken without consequence, FWC regulations changed per request, Cougar Bite/Health Dept document dismissed, bobcats taken from Alabama illegally, imprinted tame pet bobcats are put in a rehab program for release - a danger to society, Big Cat Rescue permitted to rewrite their own FWC Inspection Reports and the list goes on while valid complaints go ignored.

What can you do?  Respectfully call in complaints and request investigations.

Governor Ron DeSantis
Phone: (850) 717-9337
Email: https://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/
governorron.desantis@eog.myflorida.com

FWC Inspector General Mike Troelstrup
Phone:  850-488-6068
Email:  Inspector.General@myfwc.com

REFERENCES

3/24/2019 - Big Cat Rescuers Bringing Female Wild Florida Bobcat to Big Cat Rescue Right Now – With 3 Brand New Babies!

3/24/2019 -Sky bobcat Bathing and Nursing Her Kittens

3/7/2016
  Alleged Cougar Bite Incident  Captive Wildlife Report Case/CAD Number FWSW16OFF002976 /FWTB16CAD005682 
Victim – “Preventative hospital admittance for several days for wound care/prevention received at Oak Hill Hospital, Brooksville, Florida”.
FWC was notified by the John Campbell, State Department of Health/Hernando County Health Department.  No Violations to BCR , Investigation closed and dismissed as possible fence injury.  
2/24/2016 Florida Dept of Health – Animal Bite Report   
Cougar Bite – Report notes: “called Fish and Game, they didn’t care -

11/07/2014 -  FWSW14OFF15055 : Big Cat Rescue states FWC “erroneously characterized their observations as violations” Inspection dated 11/7/2014.
Kara Hooker (FWC) sent an email to Howard and Carol Baskin of BCR asking when they would be available for a conference call to discuss the recent inspection. Howard Baskin re-wrote the Inspection Report to “correct” the mistakes made by FWC.

1/2014 - Wildlife undergoing rehabilitation or medical treatment shall not be exhibited.  Big Cat Rescue requested this regulation be changed.
- FWC Response:  We are in the process of changing the rehabilitation rule that you are citing, we have currently remedied the situation by issuing the special permit under 68A-9.002(1).

11/20/ 2014 -  Kara Hooker from Florida Fish & Wildlife gives permission to Big Cat Rescue to “attempt” rehabilitation of a 4 year old imprinted pet bobcat that lived indoors for 4 years.  Imprinted wild animals should not be considered for release; they never regain their fear of humans which makes them dangerous to release.  Rehab failure after bobcat put in a stressful change of living, live animals were tortured and killed, donations given for rehab and the cat now lives at Big Cat Rescue.

Mon 4/18/2011Bobcats illegally taken from Alabama, all three died in the care of Big Cat Rescue.
Alabama Division Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
"There is no Alabama investigation. By the time Alabama was notified of the bobcats they were in Florida. The Vets assistant who had the kittens was under the impression that Carole Baskin (or her employees) had the proper paperwork and was authorized to take the cats based on permits issued by Florida. She was duped.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service declined to intercede. Therefore the only agency that has jurisdiction left is Florida. The bobcats in question are deceased. Even if they were alive we would not allow them back to Alabama as we prohibit the importation of bobcats. We would not know if those were the same cats or what diseases they may have been exposed to. All your inquiries need to be addressed to Florida".  This case is being handled by Florida FWC. Alabama has no jurisdiction in Florida and Carole Baskin cannot be extradited to Alabama for Misdemeanor offenses.

Capt Mark T Rouleau
Law Enforcement Supervisor
Alabama Division Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries



Petition updates will follow.
Subjects not referenced with facts should be considered opinion.