The Lion's Gate animal sanctuary in Colorado euthanized all of its animals, including three tigers, three lions and five bears, due to a relocation dispute.
The sanctuary officials requested relocation because over the past two years, the current site repeatedly flooded, making it difficult for them to care for the animals.
Sanctuary owner and local psychologist Dr. Joan Laub said she had “no other option” but to euthanize the animals. However, Elbert County Commissioners say they are “shocked” and “saddened” over the decision.
“Only two weeks earlier, the operators of the facility assured the county in a public forum that if the application was denied, they would continue to operate at their current location as they had for the previous 10 years,” said county commissioner officials.
Laub hit back against that statement:
“We want to be clear we did not put our animals down because we were denied by the Elbert County Commissioners. We put our animals down because it was NO LONGER SAFE FOR THEM AND NO LONGER SAFE FOR THE PUBLIC. This was made abundantly clear to the Elbert County Commissioners. The commissioners were not concerned with the safety of residents around the sanctuary, only the residents at the re-location site,” she argued.
According to commissioners, a nearby wildlife sanctuary had offered to take the animals if Lion's Gate was unable to do so, but Lion’s Gate chose to put them down.
The founder says he was “surprised the owners didn't try and find a new home for them.”
But once again justifying her actions, Laub stated that moving the animals was not a feasible option since some of them were endangered species, while others were old and vulnerable.
The wildlife sanctuary’s actions have caused uproar among animal lovers who are questioning why authorities thought the animals would be OK moving to a new location of their own, but not at another sanctuary. Interestingly, the dispute over location has been ongoing for years, as far back as 2006.
Lion's Gate requested permission to build another sanctuary outside the area prone to floods, but was denied.
While all animals have been buried, it is extremely sad that the sanctuary chose to euthanize them instead of moving them to other sanctuaries offering help. Killing an animal is not acceptable under any circumstance, especially if it is done by a “sanctuary” that claims to “rescue and protect exotic animals.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters