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Big Cat Rescue gets no funding from the government, but often steps in to help government agencies. When states pass laws to ban the private possession of big cats, they always include a grandfather clause that allows the people who have big cats to keep them, but doesn’t allow them to buy or breed more.  There is usually a requirement that people register their big cats with the state, when such a law is passed, so that the state knows if the person is compliant.

When people refuse to comply with new laws the state will sometimes seize the animals, if they think the public is at risk.  That often results in years of legal battles between the state and the lawbreakers who use wild animals in their money making schemes.

State law enforcement agencies are not equipped to provide years of care to animals that can cost thousands of dollars per year in food and vet care alone.

That’s When They Call on Big Cat Rescue



We will provide the best care and environment the cats have ever known, during the long court cases, and we do it for free.

Sometimes we cannot tell you the name or the horrific stories of abuse that these animals have suffered until after the last appeals court has ruled in favor of the state.

For the protection of the cats, from the criminals who would often, rather see them dead than living the good life at Big Cat Rescue, we must ask that you not take photos, videos or talk about some specific animals if your tour guide indicates that they are in the Big Cat Witness Protection Program.

Big Cats Seized From Tiger Ridge Exotics 

The Toledo Blade recently covered the closure of Kenneth Hetrick’s Tiger Ridge Exotics: “10 animals were sent last week to facilities in Arizona, South Dakota, and Florida while their owner Kenneth Hetrick and the state resolve a case in Wood County Common Pleas Court regarding their care, according to a notice filed in that court.”

The “cat is out of the bag” and everyone knows the three tigers and one leopard are living at Big Cat Rescue due to the court filings by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Our contract with law enforcement usually prohibits us from talking about the cats in specifics, or posting any photos or videos of them during the litigation.

What we can tell you…

Big Cat Rescue is happy to welcome the black leopard named Shadow, and the three tigers, named Jessica, Emily and Lily to the sunshine state during the term of the court battle between the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Kenny Hetrick. All of the cats made the trip from Ohio to Florida without incident and have quickly settled into their new daily routine.

Now they walk on soft earth, roll in the grass, perch up on platforms that overlook our 18-acre lake, lounge in their spring fed pools or can lazily gaze out over their new habitats from the security of their hillside dens.

Their daily routine consists of the best carnivore diet money can buy, attentive care by expertly trained staff, playing with balls, tearing up enrichment, watching the ducks on the lake and “talking” to their new cat neighbors nearby.

This video shows you a little about the enclosures where they are kept, without including any actual photos or videos of these specific cats.


To learn more about Big Cat Rescue, check out their website, here.

Image source: Flickr