BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The national Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA) is responding to concerns brought up by a local Big Cat Sanctuary regarding the Big Cat Public Safety Act, expected to be voted on by the US House of Representatives on Thursday.
On Monday. News 13 spoke with Bear Creek Feline Center directors, Jim and Bertie Broaddus, who said that while they think the Act is important to stop the exploitation and abuse of captive big cats in the US, they’re concerned with the bill prohibiting volunteers’ direct contact with big cats for feedings and habitat cleaning.
In response to those concerns, BCSA representatives said they believe it’s best to limit direct contact for the safety of both the cats and the humans.
Alliance Program Manager, Kathy Blachowski, said volunteers at member sanctuaries have no direct contact with the cats, but it doesn’t mean there’s no contact at all — allowing for feedings with tongs or cat holding areas as well as visual enrichment for the cats.
“We still think it will be allowed as far as everything that we need to do to make them have the best life in captivity that they can have while hopefully addressing some of the issues that cause these big cats to be needed to be rescued in the first place,” Blachowski said.
She said she agrees with the Broaddus’s on many of their points, but hopes the bill passes as is.
“We just feel that it makes it the safest for the cats and those who are working with them to have that layer of protection in between them,” she said.