Cass captive cougars headed for Minn. sanctuary

Published 5:50 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

By Staff
CASSOPOLIS -- Patrick Fetherston, director of Cass County Animal Control, a division of the Sheriff's Office, Monday announced the successful transfer of two captive cougars from a residence in Jones to The Wildcat Sanctuary, a Minnesota-based organization dedicated to aiding abandoned and abused big cats.
The cougars -- one male and one female -- were found at the Harold Brown residence by Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Officer Jeff Robbinette in the latter part of January 2003.
Brown's obligation under the act was to apply for a permit to keep the animals within 90 days of the effective date of the Large Carnivore Act passed in 2000.
The act requires that owners cannot transfer ownership of large carnivores unless they transfer the animal to an animal control shelter or animal protection shelter, a person licensed by the Department of Natural Resources of Michigan or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a zoological park approved or accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or a person approved by The Association of Sanctuaries or the American Sanctuary Association.
After contacting zoos in South Bend, Ind., Battle Creek, Lansing and Detroit, Fetherston turned to the Internet and found Tammy Quist of The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota.
The Wildcat Sanctuary is accredited by The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS) and the American Sanctuary Association (ASA).
The transfer of animals took place on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 15. The process began around 12:45 p.m. The animals left the property at 4:50 p.m.
The Animal Control Department was assisted by Jeff Robbinette of the Michigan DNR and Dr. David Visser, DVM, of the Center for Animal Health and Roseland Animal Clinic.
You can see The Wildcat Sanctuary by visiting
Brown has had both cougars on the property since 1996. He can't recall if he got them in Missouri or Wisconsin, but he brought them to Michigan when they were 5 and 6 months of age. Brown had them in a pole barn-type building on the property all their lives. DJ, the male, weighs approximately 180 pounds. Nada, the female, weighs approximately 100 pounds.