Ashland: Tiger sanctuary closing amid financial, political trouble

1:32 AM, Sep 3, 2012   |    comments
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ASHLAND, Ohio -- The clock is ticking for Tiger Paws Animal Sanctuary in Ashland; a shelter that specializes in big cats.

Ohio's new exotic animal law is one of several reasons why it's forced to close.

Now the shelter's owner will now have to give up the animals that she's cared for, for years.

Denise Flores and her husband Jose have cared for big cats for nearly 20 years, but financial problems and the new exotic animal law are forcing them to close this chapter of their lives.

"I believe I'm doing the right thing finding a good home for them before it all gets out of hand with everybody in the state," Flores said.

New regulations have been passed for exotic animal owners, but even if Flores could afford to keep the cats, she would still be lost complying.

"I think that if they impose the laws, it's their responsibility to tell people where they can get this stuff and they don't even know," Flores said.

That leaves her a painful task.

Four of the cats have been placed at shelters in Oregon and Minnesota. These will be leaving in October for Indiana.

"Saying goodbye to these guys is going to be the hardest thing in my entire life because it's been my life and it's just heartbreaking," Flores said.

Leaving not only her cages empty, but also her heart.

"I just want to make sure they can retire to a place that's going to take good care of them," Flores said. "Even though it's a difficult decision, it's the right decision."

The Flores family will be able to visit the tigers in their new home in Indiana.


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