Dear Yogie Fans and Friends,
I wanted to let you know personally exactly what is happening at the sanctuary at this time. I also ask that cooler heads prevail and that you not call the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) regarding our situation and status. We are working all these issues.
Yogie and Friends was incorporated in May 2000 and became a 501(c)(3) public charity. We received our first USDA Class C exhibitor license on 13 July 2001. The USDA was our only governing authority.
15 August 2006 the laws regarding big cat ownership changed in Louisiana. This new law gave the LDWF the authority to "promulgate" rules and regulations regarding big cats in the state. The only entities exempted from the new law are sanctuaries (they will only recognize AZA accredited sanctuaries or Federal ones), Universities with a mascot, and a couple of others I cannot think of at this moment. We are not recognized as a sanctuary.
In 2009 we applied to be a non-AZA zoo. Our first inspection had expected discrepancies and we have been trying to work on these. The den houses we originally thought we could use did not work, so we were back at square one there. The other items we thought we had successfully met, but apparently have not. We had another visit on 29 April 2014 and received an even more extensive list of requirements. Many are administrative, but some are not. We truly thought we had met or exceeded the standards in many areas. At that point the letter stated we had 60 days to correct ALL deficiencies or our animals would be seized and LDWF would assist us in finding someplace to send them.
14 July 2014 LDWF inspectors returned and they said we still have not met the requirements, said they will not give us an extension and will not permit us as a non-AZA zoo. As a result I was told that we were now in violation of possessing big cats without a permit and was cited by one of the accompanying enforcement agents. The nine big cats are seized on paper. This means they are now evidence in a lawsuit and cannot be moved, sold, or anything else. Wildlife agents also said they have located a sanctuary in Colorado to take immediate possession of the animals. That cannot happen. I have to go to court on 3 September.
We really thought we were making progress. We are trying to raise money for both the legal expenses as well as still building the necessary houses for our animals. After all, we are still caring for our beloved animals. We ask you please share this link with as many as you can. Again, please do not attack any of the government departments involved here. It can only hurt us.
Many of you have been to Yogie and Friends and know how wonderfully cared for our animals are. Please remember your visits and thank you for caring.
Kroger Community Rewards Program: It is time to relink your Kroger Plus Card for the Community Rewards Program. If you haven’t registered your Kroger Plus Card online yet, then you can do so at anytime. Once your card is registered you can go to the Community Rewards Program page, select Yogie and Friends as your charity of choice and then link your Kroger Plus Card to the Rewards program. Every time an enrolled participant shops at Kroger using his or her Kroger Plus card, Yogie and Friends will begin accumulating rewards. In addition, once a household member enrolls his or her card, all linked Kroger Plus cards within that household will begin earning funds for Yogie and Friends. That is if you have selected us as your charity of choice and we sure hope you have. Please make sure you register your Kroger Plus Card on line and then link Yogie and Friends as your charity of choice. This only applies to Texas and Louisiana shoppers for us. Thank you in advance. Our charity NPO number is: 80724
James Burton Guitar Festival: Yogie and Friends will have a booth below the Texas Street bridge on August 22nd from 5pm – midnight and August 23rd from 11am – 5pm. We will have our awesome Yogie merchandise to help raise funds for our animals. We hope to see you at this fun event.
Facebook: If you aren’t already following us on our Facebook page, then please go and like on us. We are very active on the page and share lots of photos and videos of the big cats as well as sharing upcoming events and educational information of big cats and domestic pets. Please help us increase our fan page like.
Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): If you are a Military member or Federal Employee we hope you will donate to Yogie and Friends via CFC. This program is easy and another good way to give financial assistance to the big cats. We hope you will please consider Yogie and Friends when making your CFC contribution. Our CFC number is 42427.
Financial Support: Your financial support is always needed and much appreciated. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in good standing. We have always been, and remain, a 100% volunteer driven organization. Our normal monthly bills are: Water, Electric, Diesel fuel (truck), phone, and truck insurance. Other bills are liability insurance and vet care when needed. We are good managers of our funds and have no debt. We work hard on this to be good stewards of our money. This is why our donors are so important and we want you all to know how much we appreciate you for your continued support. Thank you!
Recycle Ink Cartridges and Cell Phones: Please consider helping us with our recycling program. Please don’t throw those old ink jet/laser jet cartridges in the trash. Give them to us. We recycle them and get cash for the cats. You can box up the cartridges; put a prepaid label on it that we will provide you, and then drop it off at any UPS shipping facility or they can pick it up at your business. If you need labels, then just contact us and we will get some too you.
TBD September 2014 11am-4pm Fall Bake Sale and Fundraiser
Petco, 6596 Youree Drive, Shreveport, LA
Much more to come!
PLEASE spay and neuter your pets. Adopt! Don’t Shop! Also, please continue heartworm prevention all year round and not just in the summer months. Heartworm disease can be transmitted all year.
Always for our big cats!