April 19, 2013
Several hybrid cat enclosures that contain domestic cats were damaged overnight after more than two feet of ice and snow built up on the roofs of the enclosures.
Executive Director Tammy Thies said there was no breach of security and the Sanctuary has staff onsite 24 hours a day so they were aware of the damage shortly after it occurred.
Several enclosures will need to be replaced at considerable expense. Thies said this would be a big undertaking for The Sanctuary.
“Our small cat enclosures are constructed differently than our big cat enclosures,” she explained. “Never in our 13 year history have we seen damage to any of our enclosures.”
She said the damaged outdoor enclosures did exactly what they were supposed to do when compromised. “The enclosures are designed to concave when damaged,” she said. “And that is exactly what happened. All the cats were snuggled safely in their buildings and dens avoiding the elements.”
Thies said the Sanctuary implemented its crisis communication plan immediately after recognizing the damage and staff and volunteers were onsite carrying out their individual roles.
“Everyone is safe and healthy, and this was a good opportunity to see our crisis communication plan at work,” she said. “I am so impressed with the way the staff handled this and that they were all ready, willing and able to respond immediately. Now the big job begins, shoveling the Sanctuary and rebuilding enclosures.”
The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill big cat rescue located in Sandstone, MN. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis. TWS is funded solely on private donations. The Sanctuary is a rescue organization and is not open to the public. Combining natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit animals. The Wildcat Sanctuary is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and is licensed by the USDA and members of the American Zookeepers Association.
Storm update: Thanks to countless staff and volunteer hours, we were able to salvage many of the enclosures by jacking up the ceilings, adding additional supports and patching holes. In the end, only one enclosure was a total loss. This quick response from so many saved us from having to demolish and rebuild which was our initial assessment and would have been devastating to us financially.
Thank you to our staff, volunteers and all of you who supported us through this recovery! It is so much appreciated. Your gifts will continue to help the cats and their daily care!