January 2010 Newsletter

Happy New Year!

We pray that everyone had a safe and blessed New Year. May 2010 bring great things for you and for our sanctuary.

Yogie and Friends is facing some big challenges in the New Year with the biggest challenge being the upgrades that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is requiring of us. These are some huge challenges.

SOS! Save Our Sanctuary: Yogie and Friends needs your help to continue to provide a forever home for the great cats.

Robin-and-Yogie.jpgFor almost ten years now (May 2010 will be our tenth anniversary) Yogie and Friends, which is a USDA licensed (for big cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards) and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) permitted (cougars and bobcats) wildlife sanctuary, has met or exceeded all requirements and guidelines. We have passed every USDA no-notice inspection with flying colors and continuously make improvements to make life better for our animals and safe for our visitors. In 2006 the laws changed toward private ownership of big cats in Louisiana and now Yogie and Friends, Louisiana’s only exotic cat sanctuary, has been lumped into the same category as private owners. We have applied to be a non-AZA permitted facility in order to remain open to the public for educational visits. The changes that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have imposed on us will be costly. We need your help to meet these deadlines in just one short year. LDWF is requiring us to make almost $500,000 worth of upgrades by 10 December 2010. There are several ways that the public can assist in keeping Yogie and Friends open to the public for visitors. These are: 1) monetary donations 2) materials donations, and 3) hands on skills and labor. These are just a few ways to help with the immediate needs of meeting the upgrade requirements. CougarˍBoudreaux.jpg

Yogie and Friends has not experienced any catastrophic events such as those that closed a Louisiana zoo for two weeks or things like a zoo which had the death of an individual that climbed over their so called barriers. Did you know that some zoos only have a four foot high railing between them and the animal pen and children and adults can just climb under them and put their hands through the animal cage? Our perimeter fence is 8 feet high. Did you also know that visitors have free roaming access around zoos and by the time security or a zoo worker gets to these interlopers that injury or even death may have already occurred? At Yogie and Friends there is always a sanctuary volunteer in view of all visitors at all times to prevent any attempt at endangering themselves or an animal. 

Some of the changes we are now required to have are as follows: a ten inch deep concrete footer around all the big cat pens. The reason behind this is so that they don’t dig out. Well, cats don’t typically dig. Dogs do. We have already completed this task with the help of some great Air Force volunteers from Barksdale Air Force base. We also have to raise our pen enclosures an additional four feet. Our pens are 12 feet high with a two foot overhang and this has been the USDA standard and we have met these standards for the past ten years. All cats that do climb, such as cougars, Servals, bobcats, and leopards, have always had a covered pen to prevent any escape. Den houses. These are the most costly and possibly the most labor intensive upgrade we need to make. We can make them out of cinder blocks, steel, or some other heavy item like this. The reasoning behind this is to lock the cats up during inclement weather. We need a great deal of help with these regarding design, costs, and labor.

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If you have the skills or know people with these skills and resources to assist in meeting this requirement, then please let us know.  We realize that Yogie and Friends is not a fancy facility, that this is not where these magnificent creatures should have been in the first place (they should have never been made to live in captivity in any manner), but, the animals that we do have receive the most natural food, best veterinarian care, and are loved by those providing this care. They are here because of human selfishness and exploitation by private pet owners or the entertainment industry. Purposes that these cats have never been intended for and they need a forever home to be safe and cared for. So, please help us continue providing the cats we do have the best rest of their lives. They deserve this from us.


2010 Season: Our season opening is scheduled for 3 April 2010 (Weather Permitting).
We also want to remind folks that our hours of operation changed with the 2009 season, but we realize that there is still some old literature out in the public. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause some folks. It’s difficult to catch all the old flyers, but the Shreveport-Bossier Visitor’s Guide has the most current information and we always make sure that our telephone recording and our website have the most current information.

Special Thanks: We want to recognize some special people for their continuous support throughout the year: Cotton’s Grocery in Shreveport and Mac’s Deer Processing Plant in Stonewall for their contribution of deer during the season. Dr. Jane Eggerstedt and Donna Burrell for financing the animal’s veterinary care. Jeanne Reed who bakes for our bake sales, but more so for all the graphic work she does for our events. And Paige Bass for her wonderful work on our website. She does a great job for us.

Volunteers of the Month: Our volunteers were many during the month of December since we had so many activities. Thanks to Vicki and Brianna Volk, Andrea Labor, and Jeremy Wood for the crazy early hours to do the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. This was a great deal of work and your help was much needed. And to those who helped with the bake sale, Barnes and Noble gift wrapping, and just helping with all the events: Nina Hustus, Douglas Oepbrook, Karen Guerin, Amy Morrissey, Ginger Ramsey, Laura Tedesco, and Sharon DeCarlo. Thank you all.

Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Program: The Neighbor to Neighbor program is back on line. Please download one of the customer letters from our website and have the cashier scan it with your Kroger Plus card the next time you shop. Yogie and Friends will receive one percent of the sales. It is a great way to help the cats. The program is only available in Texas and Louisiana, but that’s still a large area of coverage. Please share this with your fellow Kroger shoppers. Accumulation for linked cards will begin July 1, 09 – April 30, 10.

Volunteer Help Needed: We need construction and carpentry work and expertise as well as other physical labor work to help meet the new upgrade requirements.

Materials Donation: We need all kinds of construction materials such as nine gauge fence, concrete, steel, etc., to complete the required upgrades.

A few ways to help financially: 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.

Combined 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.

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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.

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.

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

Have a safe and blessed Holiday and Happy New Year!

Jenny and the Yogie Cats!


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