Friday, April 27, 2012

End of the Week Review!

Well, this week has certainly been a roller-coaster of emotions for our readers.  Filled with lots anger, laughter, tears, and more laughter...

On Monday, we brought to your attention a story of Ozzi, a handsome lynx, who through no fault of his own, was destroyed because a Texas veterinarian, city police and animal control officer deemed him to be "dangerous" and not worthy to live any longer.  We had more comments posted to this story on our Facebook page and blog combined than any blog posting thus far--your comments were filled with sadness, anger, concern, and of course, love for Ozzi.  Ozzi's family wanted us to convey their thanks to you for supporting them during their time of grief--your words truly made a difference to them.

Tuesday's blog was a blatant attempt to lighten the mood, as we showed you some cute "before and after" birthday pictures of Moses (so adorable as a cub and now as a adult bobcat) and Emma (very sweet cub grew into a gorgeous tigress). 

We also celebrated the arrival anniversaries of three beautiful tigers, Iona, Kaiya, and Sultan on April 27th--they have been with us for eight years (gosh, time goes by so fast)! Our "Brats" love to play on the playground and in their pool. It's hard to believe they are going to be ten years old this year!

On Wednesday, reflected upon the animals that taught us unselfish love, providing us with memories that we will recall to brighten our days for the rest of our lives:  Ranger, Eric, and Midas.  If you haven't had a chance to read about these beautiful animals, then we encourage you to do so today!  There is a link posted in each of their stories that takes you to special pages where Vicky wrote either a special poem or letter to our animal friends.  This link will give you more insight into our beloved animals whom have passed.

Katy, our amazing dog, has quite the following! Yesterday we posted a fun video of Katy working her magic at In-Sync Exotics!  Our tireless working dog [wink wink] is always on the move, willing to provide a helping paw when ever it's needed!

Can't get enough of Katy?  Well, come on out this weekend to In-Sync Exotics and watch our hard working dog strut her stuff around the sanctuary!  Celebrity status has not changed her one bit!

Until next week, we hope you have a safe and wonderful weekend and we'll return on Monday with more fascinating information about our wild ones!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Katy is on the Job...Working Hard for the Animals!

Last week, a Twitter fan was fascinated with the idea of our dog, Katy, assisting our keepers with wild animal care chores.  This inspired us create a video of Katy in action yesterday!

You may recall, Katy went in for surgery on January 3, 2012 to correct a problem with her leg. After a long convalesce, Katy was finally cleared for duty earlier this month!  And of course, Katy, not wanting to rest on her laurels, immediately sprung into action by resuming her duties  with treat bags at the ready!

We hope you enjoyed this fun video of Katy!  She is truly an inspiration to us--always there to help us out, greet us with a smile, and extend a welcoming paw of comfort when we need her the most!

Well done, Katy!  Job well done!

If this video brought a smile to your face, let us know by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below and don't forget to share...after all sharing is caring!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Everlasting Memories...and Love

We are truly blessed to have an opportunity to spend quality time with the animals placed in our care.  Since we don't always have a camera or cell phone handy to capture all the wonderful moments when our animals do something amazing or endearing, it is sometimes hard to convey to our fans just how unique and special our animals are to us. 

Every month, we reflect upon the animals that taught us unselfish love, providing us with memories that we will recall to brighten our days for the rest of our lives; the ones that lived, loved, and died at In-Sync Exotics.

This month, we honor:

June 12, 1993 - April 6, 2006

April 26, 2000 - April 21, 2007

March 10, 1999 - April 25, 2011

Allow us to re-introduce you to our three very special big cats that made a huge impact on our lives:

Ranger:  In 1994, Texas Parks and Wildlife asked Vicky, founder, CEO & President of In-Sync Exotics, if she would accept Ranger, a cougar in desperate need of a new home.  1-year old Ranger used to live in an enclosed 6' x 10' barn with no windows and no means of fresh air.  The floors were covered in feces and there was no fresh drinking water available.  At the time of rescue, the Game Warden found Ranger living in the rafters. 

Ranger was underweight and had liver and kidney problems. His poor health was related to having an improper diet of regular canned cat food. With a proper diet Vicky was able to nurse him back to health.

Ranger was a very playful cougars who loved to play with his toys, especially his basketballs. He made a very distinctive sound, like that of a small dog bark, which everyone found delightful!   

Ranger shared an enclosure with Tahoe, his loving companion, for 12 years. The two cougars were inseparable and doted on each other like an old, married couple. Tragically, we lost Ranger on April 6, 2006 to pneumonia. We miss him dearly, but he will forever be in our hearts.  Ranger is survived by his offspring, Sahara.


Mohan (left) and Eric (right)
Best Buddies
Eric:  On August 17, 2000, Eric, his sister Emma, plus six cage mates were rescued from an inhumane Texas breeding mill.  Little Eric (about 4 months old)  was unusually scared and confused when he first arrived at In-Sync Exotics that he took his ringworm treatments without protest. He didn't know what to think about the treatments and all his special baths. Eric shared an enclosure with Emma, whom he had a very close relationship. He was a very good brother, letting her do almost anything she wanted to him. He was very caring and gentle, yet strong and bold and was considered the leader and protector of all the "babies" he lived with.

Tragically, on April 21, 2007, just five days shy of his 7th birthday, Eric was put to rest after a year long battle with cancer.

On his last day, Eric honored us by getting in his swimming pool that was built in his honor for the first and last time.  Eric truly loved the water.

Although he will be forever missed, his memory will live on through the legacies he left behind, including "Eric's Pool" that was made possible by a very special guardian angel and several other generous supporters and is now enjoyed by his friends; the subsequent pools that were made possible by the same guardian angel; the new training program that was implemented to train Eric to do basic commands so that we could administer medication safely and without stress and is now being successfully used on all of our cats; and the knowledge gained from the pathology reports that are educating the very same medical professionals that were baffled when Eric was sick. 

Eric is survived by his sister and cage mates Emma, Mohan, Nadia, Saber, and Lucca.  We know Eric is looking down and chuffing at us all...

Midas:  Midas, along with his parents Raja and Jasmine, was rescued from a drive-thru park that was closed down due to inhumane conditions. Upon his arrival, we noticed Midas had scars all over his body from earlier bouts of ringworm, mange and impetigo. Midas was a golden tabby Bengal tiger and his rare coloring, like that of the white Bengal tiger, was the result of a genetic mutation.

Midas was an absolute joy--he was always happy to see us.  Whenever he received a new toy or was enriched with a new scent he would give us the biggest smile you have ever seen. His favorite toy was his large barrel which he dragged all over his cage and even into his den. Midas had many cute antics that always delighted the volunteers and visitors. For instance, sometimes he would play "embarrassed" by putting his paws over his face, rolling around and moaning. He had a white spot on his left shoulder where hair was once missing, but it only adds to his unique personality.

Midas, resting after his busy week.
He went to A&M and came home,
and is just worn out!

Sadly, Midas died from an aggressive form of skin cancer that spread to his blood giving him a form of leukemia.  Midas is survived by his mother, Jasmine, his sister, Samu, and his brother Tyjar.  Midas was a very special tiger and we miss him very much.

We pray that Ranger, Eric, and Midas know just how much they mattered to us.  They will always be in our hearts as a daily reminder of what is most important in life---love.

A Bridge Called Love

It takes us back to brighter years,
to happier sunlit days
and to precious moments
that will be with us always.
And these fond recollections
are treasured in the heart
to bring us always close to those
from whom we had to part.

There is a bridge of memories
from earth to Heaven above...
It keeps our dear ones near us

It's the bridge that we call love.
 ~ Author Unknown


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

News, Birthdays, & Anniversaries!

Yesterday's blog posting invoked a lot of comments and emotions from our readers regarding the death of Ozzi, beloved lynx of the "Smiths."  Normally, we try to keep our blog postings uplifting and educational, but when a tragedy such as this comes to light, we feel we have an obligation to inform our readers.  

Several folks suggested this story must be made available to a greater public audience, naming names and so forth, so that something like this would never happen again.  We were given permission to post this story by one of the families involved on the condition that we did not disclose the family's  name or location.  There are two families still mourning the loss of Ozzi and until we receive permission from the families to release additional information, we must adhere to their wishes.  But that doesn't mean we cannot make a difference in the lives of captive, or for that matter, wild animals.

Last year, we posted a similar story on a captured wild bobcat located in Murphy, Texas, who was destroyed by a police officer instead of being released to the wild as originally promised.  As a result of the Murphy bobcat incident, Murphy law enforcement officers were trained on how to properly deal with wild exotic animals by In-Sync Exotics, learning that euthanasia is the last result when dealing with indigenous wild life.  Thanks to our volunteer, Ricki Hart, Murphy Police officers learned conflicts (or chance meetings) between humans and wild animals do not have to end in death.   Chief Cox was adamant that the police department’s policy will not include shooting a caged animal unless there is imminent risk to people or other animals.  The Chief also agreed to contact us to assist them with the relocation of captured wild animals.

So, if law enforcement officers lack the knowledge or tools necessary to deal with these types situations, then perhaps it is up to all of us to educate our local police and sheriff departments.   By forwarding this information to your friends and families, more people become aware of this issue and perhaps, just perhaps, they may be in the right position to make a change for the better so that another Ozzi-like tragedy is prevented.  Sometimes, it just takes one person to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

On a more positive note, we want to turn your focus towards our beautiful exotic wild animals, as we celebrate either their birthdays or anniversary arrival dates to In-Sync Exotics!

We celebrate two birthdays this month--tiger Emma who will be 12 years old on April 26th and bobcat Moses, who will be 6 years old on April 28th!  Let's start with Moses...

Adorable Baby Moses
Moses (left) and Otis (right) -- not a baby anymore!

Baby Emma Upon Arrival at In-Sync Exotics

And look how beautiful she is today!

Lovely Emma!

We also celebrate the arrival anniversaries of three beautiful tigers, Iona, Kaiya, and Sultan on April 27th--they have been with us for eight years!  Our "Brats" love to play on the playground and in their pool. It's hard to believe they are going on ten years of age this year.  Look at how much they love life and each other!

Sultan and Iona

Our "Brats" are all grown up now!
Iona, the water "baby"
Yoga, Sultan-style!
Kaiya watching us watch her!
Sultan in the snow
Iona in the snow

Kaiya in the snow

To learn more about our wonderful birthday cats and "brats," visit their web pages here!  We hope you found today's posting informative.  Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this and future posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons shown below--and share this blog posting with others--thank you!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Ozzi's Story

While we were enjoying our Easter Celebration, a dire situation was unfolding several hundred  miles away from us. The following account was provided to us by one family involved in this incident—this was a real story involving two families, Texas county law enforcement officers, a  veterinarian, and Ozzi—a 3-year old lynx.

Meet Ozzi, a handsome lynx, who was born and raised in Montana. Ozzi was owned by a family whom we will call the “Smiths”. The Smiths raised Ozzi from the time he was a tiny cub. Ozzi was well-known in this Montana town as he was often seen traveling in the family car, attending outdoor sporting events, such as soccer games, with family and friends. This exotic cat was loved by his family and many admirers.

A few months ago, the Smiths (parents and teen aged son) decided to move to Texas in search of better employment opportunities. Before making the big move, the Smiths contacted two cities in Texas to determine what they would need to do to legally move Ozzi from Montana to Texas. An import license and ownership permit was obtained, so the family was ready to relocate to their new home with their beloved lynx.

The Smiths quickly settled into their new home, got to know some of the local neighbors, befriending one particular family whom we will call the “Andersons."

The Andersons family met and spent some time with the Smiths’ lynx. Seeing no reason why their teen aged boy should not play with this beautiful cat, the parents allowed their son to stay at the Smith’s house quite often. Ozzi was house trained, up-to-date on his vaccinations, and loved to play with the boys.

Early Saturday morning, the boys were playing with Ozzi when the cats’ tooth accidentally scrapped the Anderson teen aged son’s arm, causing a small scratch that slightly bled for a few moments. The boys, thinking nothing was amiss, continued playing with the lynx until it was time for the Andersons’ son to return home.

When the older sister arrived to pick up her brother, she noticed the teenager’s scrap on his arm; she asked him how he obtained the scratch. The boy told her he and his friend was playing with Ozzi when the accident occurred—that the scratch was nothing.

Concerned for her brother’s well-being, the daughter drove her brother to the hospital so he could receive a tetanus shot, just as a precautionary measure. When the hospital staff questioned the boy how he obtained the scratch, it was mentioned that it was a lynx's  tooth that accidentally scrapped his arm, causing the scratch.

Whenever a hospital staff member receives word that a person is seeking treatment for either a “scratch or bite” from a wild animal, an incident report must be made to animal control. The hospital contacted the County Animal Control and an officer was dispatched.

The hospital staff and the animal control officer questioned the boy as to the whereabouts of the animal that “scratched him.” Scared for Ozzi, the teenager tried to explain that the tooth accidentally scrapped him—the animal was not dangerous and he did not want to get Ozzi into any trouble—he refused to disclose Ozzi’s location. The hospital kept the boy for 24-hours until his sister gave up the whereabouts of the animal. The older sister did not want to see her brother questioned over and over again by law enforcement.

With Ozzi’s home address in the hands of law enforcement, it was not long before the Smiths received a visit from the Animal Control and a local police officer, demanding that they immediately relinquish Ozzi to Animal Control.

According to the Smiths, the police and animal control officers told them that if they did not relinquish Ozzi, they would be arrested and face criminal charges. It was made clear to the Smiths by these officers that the Andersons were prepared to file charges against them if they did not turn the lynx over to them.

The Smiths, not knowing their rights about relinquishing Ozzi to authorities, ended complying with the officers’ demands. Little Ozzi, who had never been placed in a cat carrier before, was forced into this small confining space and taken to a local veterinarian hospital by his owners while animal control and the police officer waited for him and the vet hospital.

At this point, the officers apparently told the Smiths that they had to sign euthanasia paperwork so Ozzi could be destroyed and have his head removed so it could be tested for rabies in Austin, Texas. The Smiths told the vet and the officers that this was not necessary as Ozzi received his annual rabies shots and they were current for the year.

They later learned that the emergency veterinarian declared the arm scrapping incident as a wild animal “attack” against the teenager.

The officers told the Smiths that if they did not sign the paperwork and pay the euthanasia fee (yes, you read that right, the officer and vet wanted the Smiths to pay them so they could kill their beloved animal), they would be charged with “endangerment to a child”, arrested, and taken to jail. The officers made it clear to the Smiths that the Andersons wanted to file a complaint against them.

Distraught, the Smiths frantically tried to reach us to see if we could take Ozzi Saturday afternoon. They hoped that if In-Sync Exotics accepted the lynx, Ozzi’s life would be spared. Unfortunately, the calls came in during our Easter Celebration and by the time Vicky was able to return the frantic phone calls, Ozzi was already dead.

The Smiths are very distraught over the senseless death of their young, handsome lynx. The Andersons’ teen aged son was inconsolable as he felt the death of the lynx was his fault. Sadly, the friendship between the two families has been severed due to the stress and heartache over Ozzi’s death. So far as it seems, the Andersons had no intentions of filing a complaint against the Smiths. It appears the animal control officer and the city police lied to the Smiths, and are now saying that the Andersons have 30 days to “change their minds” and sue the Smiths for damages; imparting this comment right after the veterinarian euthanized Ozzi.

What was most upsetting to the Smiths was the fact that the Animal Control refused to return Ozzi’s body to the family so he could be cremated.

We wanted you to know this incident because we did not want Ozzi’s story to be forgotten. We do not know if Ozzi was killed as a backlash from the ZanesvilleOhio wild animal tragedy, or simply because the animal control and police officers did not know the proper procedure in seizing non-dangerous animals.

The Smiths could not understand why didn't animal control wound not allow Ozzi to remain in their home or at an animal shelter, quarantined until the facts of the case could be heard in a court of law instead of a court held by an animal control and police officer, who served as both judge and jury.

While we do not advocate that just "anyone" be allowed to own a wild or domestic animal, we do believe that if private owners obey all local, state and federal laws and provide a safe  environment for their animal(s), they should have the constitutional right of due process in cases where animals are deemed “dangerous” by animal control officers. 

On behalf of the In-Sync Exotics staff, we want to express our condolences to Ozzi’s family for the loss of the beloved lynx. He was a beautiful animal and it’s heartbreaking that something like this could happen in the Lone Star State.

We are so much better than that, aren’t we?