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ASHLAND, Ohio – A northern Ohio rescue center that took in tigers for over 20 years is closing.
Denise Flores is the owner of Tiger Paw Exotic Rescue Center. She said that she is losing her home, while finding homes for her four remaining cats.
“I never thought we’d be in a position like this,” said Flores.
The first tiger came to her at an auction years ago, ONN’s Denise Alex reported.
“Somebody brought them and said ‘here, they are yours.’ I wasn’t expecting anything like that. That’s kind of what got us started,” Flores said.
Flores runs the tiger rescue near Ashland.
In June, she gave four of her eight tigers to sanctuaries in Minnesota and Oregon partly because of stricter Ohio laws concerning the ownership of exotics.
“It’s kind of forcing our arm,” Flores said.
Financial issues are also becoming a problem. Over the years, Flores said that she has changed her tune when it came to owning exotics.
“People would come by and say that the cage was just fine, but it’s not. It’s not,” Flores said.
Flores said that going through her difficulties, she realized that tigers need more room to roan. They need space to live like they would in the wild.
“I’ve provided for these guys, but I think they deserve so much more,” Flores said.
An Indiana sanctuary is now looking to take the four remaining tigers.
“We’re hoping for October,” Flores said. “Arrangements still need to be made, and funding still needs to come together.”
In the meantime, Flores plans to file for bankruptcy. She faces foreclosure while she cares for her ailing husband.
“It’s going to be lonely without them, but I know they are going to be ok,” Flores said. “That’s all that matters.”