A local rescue facility has been contacted about the possibility of making room for exotic animals who were set on the loose in Ohio earlier this week. The animals' owner released them into the wild before he committed suicide. Authorities have killed 49 of the 56 animals, so far.
Joe Taft, founder and director of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, said he had spoken to federal agents Wednesday morning. At Exotic Feline Rescue Center, there are 233 cats. He said he has nine species from 23 different states and a foreign country. The exotic felines staying at the rescue center either needed a home, were abused or abandoned.
After being contacted by federal agents, Taft said he would have been prepared to make room for any exotic feline or would have sent a crew to Ohio to help. He said they are not strangers to responding to an emergency. Taft said he has not dealt with the owner of the exotic animals released in Ohio, but knows about him.
"I was one of a number of people who were involved, trying to get some aid to those animals a year ago," Taft said. "There was some hope back then because of his long criminal history of neglect that something was going to happen. Obviously, nothing happened back then and that's why it happened now."
Taft founded the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) in 1991. It has 12 employees and various interns and volunteers. The EFRC also does work with the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine.
According to the nonprofit organization, in the past five years the EFRC has given homes to an average of two exotic cats per month. To feed the exotic felines, 3,500 lbs of meat a day is used.
Taft said the EFRC is primarily funded by donations.
Local rescue facility contacted about making room for freed animals
A local rescue facility has been contacted about the possibility of making room for exotic animals who were set on the loose in Ohio earlier this week.