Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary struggles to remain open in North LA
POSTED: Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 10:29am
UPDATED: Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 10:30am
Frierson, LA (KMSS) — Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary has been a Class C Exhibitor facility in good standing since 2000.
Then in 2006, Louisiana came up with a law to stop private ownership of big cats unless the business is recognized as an AZA, which is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Yogie and Friends is not recognized as a sanctuary, but the owners applied to be a non-AZA zoo, which ultimately would come with upgrades that they were willing to make.
However, a lack of resources slowed the process of making the neccesary changes in a timely manner, which brought about a lot of stress for Yogie and Friends Executive Director, Jenny Senier.
"They said they will not give us an extension to make the changes and as a result of no extension they will not give us a permit, and that puts us in violation of the law, saying that we possess big cats without a permit, so they have cited us and said on paper that they have seized the cats," said Senier.
Animal rights advocate, Amanda Ames, thinks Wildlife and Fisheries just needs to be more supportive of bringing the sanctuary to where it should be.
"I do feel like they should not almost help, but get the word out saying: "We don't want to take these animals away. We want volunteers and Shreveport-Bossier City to come together and help,"" said Ames.
Senier is to appear in court September 3 and said she truly has no idea what she's facing.
"It's pretty distressful for us cause we want to make it right, we want to do right and we're trying, but obviously we're missing the mark and we need help. We need a lot of help from the public to make it right," said Senier.
KMSS reached out to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, but the call was not returned.
Yogie and Friends has started a campaign to raise money for the upkeep of the sanctuary in order to remain open. Click here to learn more.