Monthly Archives: April 2017

Big Cat Public Safety Act

H.R. 1818

April 11, 2017


Did you know that your neighbor might have an exotic big cat in their backyard? No, we aren’t kidding, there is a chance that the sweet older lady living a block from your child’s school might be harboring a dangerous exotic animal in her house or backyard.

Currently, there are no federal laws regulating the private ownership of big cats and other dangerous exotic animals. Only state and local laws prevent your neighbors from keeping these dangerous animals as pets. For years many animal groups and accredited sanctuaries have been working hard to get a federal law passed to regulate big cat private ownership. On March 30, 2017, House Representative Jeff Denham, referred H.R. 1818 to the 115th Congress to the House Committee on Natural Resources1.

There are an estimated 5,000 – 7,000 tigers living in captivity today2, with only about 400 of those living in Zoos. That number does not include lions, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, big cat hybrids, and other dangerous exotic animals. These animals could kill or dismember a person with a swipe of their paw or bite from their powerful jaw. Nature made these animals strong enough to kill large prey and even though they were raised around humans does not negate their powerful biology and natural instincts to survive. Over the years, hundreds of big cats have escaped and/or seriously injured and killed individuals and pets 3,4. Including the worst incident to date where a man released 51 dangerous exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio in October of 20115.

6According to the Humane Society there are 5 states in the USA that have NO laws about the private ownership of big cats, Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. 11 states do not ban dangerous wild animals as pets but do require permits for some species. 13 states ban some species of dangerous wild animals as pets but allow others. 21 states ban all dangerous wild animals as pets.

H.R. 1818 is also known as the Big Cat Public Safety Act, if passed would regulate big cat private ownership at a federal level. The bill will set forth stricter regulations on facilities that own big cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act would also regulate the breeding of big cats in captivity by requiring any facilities that breed to be part of an approved conservation population management plan.

A lot of individuals and groups who oppose the Big Cat Public Safety Act argue that we are taking away their pets, this is NOT true. The Big Cat Public Safety Act allows people to keep their current exotic pets as long as they are all registered with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service within 180 days, and that they do not breed, acquire, sell, or allow public contact with their exotic animals1. The idea is that by stopping people from acquiring new big cats from this point forward that in 20 years, exotic pet ownership will no longer be an issue.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge’s mission is to provide lifetime refuge for abandoned, abused, and neglected “Big Cats” with emphasis on Tigers, Lions, Leopards, and Cougars. Our stance is that big cats are not pets, nor are they props, and deserve to be treated like the wild animals that they are. Although we love what we do, we feel it is better to prevent the abandonment, abuse, and neglect of big cats at the source, owners, instead of dealing with the aftermath.

Turpentine Creek supports H.R. 1818 – The Big Cat Public Safety Act and encourages our supporters to reach out to their local, state, and federal representatives to let them know that you support H.R. 1818 – The Big Cat Public Safety Act and believe that they should as well.

You can follow the progress of H.R. 1818 The Big Cat Public Safety Act on this website1. Get notifications about the advancement of the bill and who has cosponsored it.

U.S. Supporters ONLY.

To look up your current representatives, please visit this website7. You can call, email, or write a letter to your representative.

If you call, please say something like:

“____ is my representative, and I want to urge them to cosponsor and support The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which is bill number H.R. 1818.”

If you email, tweet, or Facebook message your representative, please write something along the lines of:

Dear _______,

My name is _______ and I live in your district. I support bill number H.R. 1818 – The Big Cat Public Safety Act. I urge you to cosponsor and support this bill.

Thank you, _____________


Read H.R. 1818 – The Big Cat Public Safety Act – Text Here








Arkansas Gives 2017 Results

You Did It!

April 10, 2017

Arkansas Gives Day was April 6, 2017. We decided to use this day of giving to replace a crucial piece of our habitat building equipment, our Hydraulic Post Driver, which had finally given up on us after 22 years of hard work. We knew that our fantastic supporters could help us raise $6,000 to replace the post driver since, on Arkansas Gives Day in 2016, we raised $6,212.54.

Shortly after the event began donations began pouring in, we were stunned speechless when we reached our $6,000 goal by 11 AM! Our supporters came out in droves to help us out. We added two smaller goals so that our supporters could continue to help us throughout the day. Our goal went up to $10,000, so that we could also get 6 weedeaters and 1 new welder. We figured these two additional goals would be enough to get us through the day; we were wrong in the best of ways.

Before 4 PM, we had raised not only enough for the weedeaters but also the welder. We had run out of goals for needed equipment. It was recommended by Emily, our animal curator, to set a final stretch goal to raise the money for the expensive powder coated metal for the two new bear night houses. The expense for these two night houses was even bigger than our initial goal. We added the $6,760 to the top of our goal bringing our full day goal up to $16,760, and we waited.

As the clock ticked closer to 8 PM, the end of Arkansas Gives Day, our numbers jumped up. At the very end of the day, we had raised a total of $16,630! That total is without our bonus dollars, which are predicted to be over $1,000, and a few checks that people sent out on Arkansas Gives Day, which have yet to arrive, that means we surpassed even our stretch goal!

Our supporters did amazing things in a single day. They purchased 1 hydraulic post driver, 6 heavy duty weedeaters, 1 welder, and the metal for 2 big bear habitats. In the upcoming weeks, we will have the official ‘grand total’ raised on Arkansas Gives Day. No matter what that finally number ends up being, we are so very thankful to every person who not only donated but shared and supported Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge on Arkansas Gives Day and continues to support us every other day of the year. THANK YOU!


UPDATE: Official Arkansas Gives Day Total including Bonus Dollars $17,751

RIP Hydraulic Post Driver


April 4, 2017

Raising Funds On Arkansas Gives Day To Replace Vital Equipment That Built Turpentine Creek

Ending of an era, RIP Yellow Hydraulic Post Driver

After 22 years and countless posts, our beloved yellow hydraulic post driver has passed into that junkyard in the sky. The machine that built big cat dreams is finally beyond repair.

For 22 years the beautiful yellow post driver built numerous habitats, benches, and safety barriers. Each time it broke our team worked hard to fix it, we did everything we could to make it last. This post driver built ALL of the habitats and fencing currently at Turpentine Creek; we would not be where we are today without the help of our yellow post driver.

When it broke in March, we called the company to order parts and were informed that they stopped making parts for our post driver model in 2006! Our only option was to search for used parts. It was with a heavy heart that we decided to retire the old girl and look into purchasing a new replacement.

Our search found the HD-10, a lovely red post driver that is more powerful, versatile, and should last just as long as the old driver. The HD-10 will cost us $6,000 but will save us thousands of dollars on man hours, labor costs, and save our team member the aches and pains of manually driving hundreds of posts.

On Arkansas Gives Day, Thursday, April 6, 2017, from 8 am until 8 pm Central Time; we will be raising the $6,000 needed to purchase the HD-10.

Arkansas Gives offers the opportunity for your donations to go further. Donations made on are eligible for Bonus Dollars and Prize money for Turpentine Creek. You do not have to live in Arkansas to participate, Arkansas Gives Day is about donating to your favorite Arkansas-based nonprofit. No matter where you live in the world, you can participate in Arkansas Gives Day and support Turpentine Creek.

Without this machine, we cannot finish building the two new bear habitats. These habitats still have hundreds of posts to be driven in hard, rocky, Arkansas soil and it will take too long for us to hand drive the posts.

We can focus on raising funds for a new Post Driver thanks to the generosity of Cindy F. who donated $5,000 last week for Arkansas Gives, fulfilling our original Arkansas Gives Goal all at once. Now it is up to the rest of our supporters to help us get this important piece of equipment so we can complete our new bear habitats and continue building habitats for the next 20+ years.

Click Here To Learn More About Arkansas Gives Click Here On Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 8a-8p CST To Donate To Turpentine Creek


Turpentine Creek Honored At Arkansas Governor’s Conference

At the 2017 Arkansas Governor’s Conference, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was awarded this year’s Henry “Bootstrap” Award.

The Bootstrap Award is given to an individual, organization or community that has achieved significant success “on a shoestring,” having limited means to work with, either in resources or finances.

Turpentine Creek is honored to be given this award. We do our best to utilize the donations of our sponsors to provide care for all the animals that call Turpentine Creek home. Getting this award is recognition for all our hard work and dedication. We thank all of our supporters for helping us care for the furry residents at Turpentine Creek.

Click Here To Donate Now And Help Us Help Them


Cat Of The Week: Whistler

Our newest rescue Whistler, an 8-year-old serval, arrived in Colorado on January 22, 2017, during our Colorado Project. He was privately owned before being rescued by the Colorado Game and Fish Commission. This timid serval, along with two other servals, was released into the wild by his former owners who felt they could no longer care for the cats.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, two of the servals would later be found dead. Whistler was luckier, having found a helpful neighbor who was willing to feed him for a short time. Eventually, Whistler would be transported to the Game and Fish Commission’s rehabilitation facility, where he stayed for several weeks before being picked up by the TCWR team.

Arriving at the Colorado Facility where we were finalizing the largest big cat and bear rescue in U.S. history, Whistler spent two weeks at the facility until he could be safely transported back to Arkansas.

On February 8, 2017, he arrived at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and was placed in a night house neighboring servals, Giselle and Bowden. Shortly after that, Whistler was released into his new habitat, although admittedly, he is still a little too shy to venture far.

This handsome serval will, for now, be on a rotating habitat schedule with Bowden and Giselle, until the time in which we will be able to introduce the three servals.

Whistler and many of the other animals that came to us during the Colorado Project are still in need of adopters. If you would like to adopt Whistler or any of the other animals that call Turpentine Creek home please visit our website to learn more.

Click Here To Learn About Our Adoption And Sponsorship Programs