June 2009 News

The heat is on! Summer is just around the corner and already we have seen temperatures in the nineties. If this is any indication, then we are in for one hot summer. We hope that you will take the necessary precautions for you and your four legged friends.

grad1.jpgCongratulations Graduates! Yogie and Friends has two special graduates we want to recognize. Two of our volunteers, Andrea Labor and Amy Morrissey, both graduated from Caddo Magnet High School on May 24th. And to top it off it was Andrea’s 18th birthday as well. These two girls have been a wonderful help to Yogie and Friends by working in the admissions/gift shop building as well as guiding visitors around the sanctuary to answer questions about our animals. We are all very proud of their accomplishments and wish them well in their future endeavors. We are fortunate enough that they are both going to attend college locally. Andrea will be attending Centenary and Amy will be attending Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Bravo to both of you!SpeedyˍAfricanˍServal.jpg

Happy Ninth Anniversary! Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary celebrated its ninth anniversary on May 26th. Making it so many years is just another indication of a caring community and supporters wanting to see us succeed. Yogie and Friends is the brainchild of Timothy Mills. Tim, with the support and guidance of a dear friend, the late Bill Strunk, created the organization to rescue abused, neglected, and unwanted large, exotic cats. With help from some friends, but mostly his own hard work, Tim created the facility for these animals. We hope to continue helping these wonderful animals for many years to come.

Wildlife and Fisheries Inspection: As many of you know there was a change in the big cat laws in Louisiana back in 2006. Prior to this it was the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant and Inspection Service (APHIS) only, that regulated the big cats. Now we are also required to be permitted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Before this they only regulated animals native to Louisiana such as cougars and bobcats. Yogie and Friends applied for the new permit in August 2007. Our inspection was conducted on 23 April 2009 and there are some items that we need to upgrade. Although we meet the USDA standards (and have passed every inspection by them for nine years samsonˍwaterˍ250.jpgstraight) we now have to meet the new additional state requirements, based on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) standards, which are much different than the USDA requirements. This was not unexpected, but we chose to go with the standards that are based on animal care and not on esthetics such as paved walkways or concessions. We chose to focus on animal care and design and stay with a more natural, grassy walkway for visitors. Most of the changes have to do with some animal pen designs such as den houses and some concrete additions. Overall we did very well and we showed how vigilant we are when it comes to public safety and the care and well being of our animals. We did very well in this area. We are always making improvements, but we are going to need the public’s help in paying for these newly required upgrades. We will have this info on our website if you wish to help.

Pets and the Economy. There seems to be a very sad trend happening these days. It seems that when people are faced with hard times the first thing that goes is the family pets. The sad thing is that this isn’t always necessary for them to do. Most of the time the biggest expense involved in pet ownership is the upfront costs of immunizations and spay/neuter. After that, providing you don’t have emergency medical issues, it is usually just the annual immunizations, prevention such as heartworm, flea/tick prevention, and feeding. If it is a case of not being able to afford the cost of food there are usually animal agencies out there that can help you with some of this. It is much easier for them to help with the cost of food than it is to find another home for these animals. The no-kill and kill shelters are already filled to capacity. So, if you or someone you know needs help with this, then contact some of the local Humane Society folks to help keep you and your animal family member stay together. It will be a win-win situation.Boudreauxˍcougar.jpg

Medical Issues. This past year has been a difficult one regarding medical issues for our animals. Our vet has had to perform surgeries on our lions Batman and Robin and our cougar, Boudreaux because they needed repairs done on their paws. These animals arrived declawed and they have been suffering from the negative impact of this practice. Robin still needs more surgery, but it is something that may be too invasive at this time and we are going to look at more repairs for him.

We also went with a new vaccine protocol that is state of the art for the species involved, but of course, much more expensive. We want the best for these animals and we know we have that. We can always use your help in this area and appreciate all that you can do.

party1.jpgParties: We get several requests to do parties at Yogie and Friends. At this time we don’t do parties were we provide food or other items. But, if you would like to hold your party at the sanctuary that is not a problem. Usually we will reserve the picnic area for those wishing to have a party and they bring all the supplies with them. After that they will take a tour of the sanctuary with all the party goers. If this is something you want to do, then please give us a call for more details. We hope to be able to do all the party work in the future and will be looking at scheduling parties after we close at 5 P.M. This will give our party goers a more private opportunity.

On-line Shopping: We are working on our on-line catalog of merchandise. It’s just a matter of getting things organized and loaded to our website. At this time it will just be our t-shirts, and a few other small items. Hopefully we will be able to have more items available as the opportunity allows us. Keep watching our website for that.

Volunteer Help Needed: We can use regular volunteers to act as tour guides and someone to man the admissions/gift shop on Saturdays. We are open Noon – 5 P.M. and we realize that many people don’t want to give up their Saturdays. We would set up shifts if needed. If this is something you are interested in then please contact us. tigger062008.jpgOur volunteers fill out applications just like any other job you apply for. You must be 16 or older (with reliable transportation). We ask that you are able to drive yourself to the facility so you aren’t depending on someone else to get you to us.

An easy way you can help the cats is when you do your shopping on-line is by using iGive. If you do your shopping on-line then you can contribute by shopping through the iGive tool. Everything helps. Visit www.iGive.com and select Yogie and Friends as your cause when you shop. It’s so easy.

Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Program replaces the Kroger Share Card Program. The new Kroger program is now up and running. The advantage of the new program is now you only need to use the one card, your Kroger Plus Card. The Share card is obsolete. If you download the Kroger letter from our website and bring it with you the next time you shop at Kroger’s all you need to do is give the letter, with the bar code, to the cashier along with your Kroger Plus Card. The cashier will scan the bar code and it will be part of your Kroger Plus Card. One less step. The Program is now in its renewal period. The bar code on the letter will remain the same, but you will need to re-link your cards in June. There will be a void period (May and June 2009) where no accumulation to organizations will occur. Accumulation for linked cards will begin July 1, 09 – April 30, 10.

CFCˍlogo.gifCombined Federal Campaign. It is that time of year again when Federal and Military personnel can donate to Yogie and Friends through payroll deduction under the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) program. If you are interested in contributing this way our CFC number is 42427.

Coins for Cats! I recently emptied a little piggy bank I throw all my change in when I come home. It wasn’t even full, maybe half so. It added up to $106! That little bit of effort ended up being a nice chunk of change. I gave it to Yogie and Friends. This is a neat way for kids to be able to help the animals with very little effort.



Cans for Cats! Kids can also help by collecting cans and taking them to the local recycling center for cash and this can also add up to a nice piece of change for the cats. It’s something kids can do to help go green and help the big cats all at once.

Volunteer of the month: We want to thank Samantha Bledstein for her hard work in raising $119 to go toward the privacy fence we need for our property. This was such a nice surprise that she wanted to help the cats in this way and we really appreciate someone so young caring so much for our cats. We also want to congratulate her on her recent Bat Mitzvah. We are as proud of her as her parents are. Samantha even designed her own invitations and used our Taz, the bobcat, as the subject of her artwork for the invitations. She did a great job. Congratulations and thank you so much!

Check out the programs being offered at Yogie and Friends. There is the Yogie and Friends Membership Program , Sponsorship Program, and Corporate Sponsorship Program . These are programs that help us support the animals and another way that you can get involved. Program packages are available here on our website.

Go Green with our ink jet and cell phone recycling program. Details are listed on our website.

We have several programs for you to help our animals: www.magfundraising.com, www.igive.com, Cause ID 19883, www.networkforgood.org, www.goodsearch.com, just to name a few. They are all listed here on our website.

Please remember to spay and neuter your pets.

YogiBallˍth.jpgAlso, do what you can to prevent flea and ticks causing serious illnesses to your animals. They deserve your care and kindness. Pest control is a big issue this time of year. Mosquitoes are carriers of the heartworm disease that we see in so many animals. You can help avoid some of this by making sure you don’t have stagnant water around your property, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Give heartworm preventatives to your animals. Get regular checkups for your pets. Also, please make sure you provide all your animals, inside and outside, fresh, clean water and shelter from the elements. Change their drinking water often and make sure the water hose has been running cool water before you fill their bowls.

Be good to your animals. Be good to people! Be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves!

Jenny and the Yogie Cats!

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