Tag: Big Cat Public Safety Act

The Era of Tiger Pets Is Over, Plus: Influencer Defends Hitting Cat, Says People Are Upset Over ‘Nothing’

We start with some great news: Big Cat Rescue is shutting down because its services will no longer be needed.

Of course there are still plenty of tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, pumas, lynx and cheetahs in the non-profit sanctuary’s care, but the passing of the Big Cat Public Safety Act has finally put an end to the cruel, abusive and absurd practice of keeping big cats as pets.

The animals will be moved to Turpentine Creek, an accredited animal sanctuary in Arkansas. Big Cat Rescue will continue to fund their care and will sell its existing land in Florida as it transitions to programs to prevent the extinction of big cat species, almost all of whom are critically endangered.

“We have always said that our goal was to ‘put ourselves out of business,’ meaning that there would be no big cats in need of rescue and no need for the sanctuary to exist,” Big Cat Rescue wrote in a memo released this week. “Supporting our cats in larger enclosures at Turpentine Creek, at much lower cost per cat than we incur by continuing to operate Big Cat Rescue, will free up resources to let us do much more to save big cats in the wild.”

photo of tiger and cub lying down on grass
Credit: Waldemar/Pexels

The Big Cat Public Safety Act has not only made it illegal to own tigers and other wild cats as pets, it also puts an end to the cub-petting business used by roadside zoos, in which cubs are taken from their mothers as infants so the roadside zoos can charge customers to pet the cubs and pose for photographs with them. While big cat “pet owners” are grandfathered in, many have been rescued and there will be no more pets after the current group dies out.

Influencer Hasbulla says people “are attacking me for nothing” over video in which he abuses cat

Hasbulla, the Russian influencer whose videos have been viewed more than 10 billion times on TikTok, says people are making a big deal over “nothing” in response to a video showing him abusing his cat.

Hasbulla 3 169
Hasbulla is 20 years old but has a child-like appearance due to a genetic condition.

The 3’4″ social media “star” is known for frequently talking about “acting like a man” and in addition to being an enthusiastic supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine (he’s called Putin “a lion” on several occasions), he holds typical Russian views on the way men are “supposed” to act.

Hasbulla said he was merely disciplining his cat for “misbehaving.”

“Those brothers who think that I was beating the cat, pulled the ear, this and that. I pulled the ear gently,” Hasbulla said in a video accompanying a Twitter post. “I know that people are waiting for the moment, if I write something wrong, to just attack me like this. Like, ‘you do this, you do that’. She was misbehaving and I just pulled the ear and that’s it. I love my cat more than you. If I didn’t love the cat, I wouldn’t have it at home. My most lovely animal is a cat. And when she disobeyed, I scolded her a little. And you are attacking me for nothing.”

Of course anyone with common sense knows cats are not capable of “misbehaving” because they have no concept of what behaving means by human standards, and Hasbulla is being dishonest when he claims he was “gently” disciplining the cat.

In the video, which the Russian voluntarily uploaded, he’s seen grabbing the terrified cat by her ear and yanking violently. The cat runs from him and retreats to a cardboard box where she tries to soothe herself, but Hasbulla follows, scolding her in his native language and hitting her several times on her head and body.

Unfortunately there is little concern for animal rights in Hasbulla’s country, so it’s very unlikely he’ll run afoul of any Russian laws, and even less likely that an animal welfare organization will confiscate the abused feline.

Finally, Wild Cat ‘Ownership’ Could Be Banned Under The Big Cat Public Safety Act

There are more tigers living in cramped backyards in Texas than there are in the wild.

At roadside zoos, shady people like Joseph Maldonado-Passage, Joe “Exotic” of Tiger King fame, breed big cats like rabbits so they have an endless supply of cubs to steal from their mothers before they’re weaned, pumped full of sedatives, and handed off to tourists who take selfies with them but never stop to consider the welfare of those baby cats or the harm they’re enabling.

And in states like Florida, where “Muh freedoms!” reign supreme over all other values, people can own any wild animals they want, with no real oversight and no mechanisms to ensure they’re doing right by the animals. There’s nothing forcing “exotic” animal “owners” to keep the big cats, monkeys and other mammals in proper enclosures where they have stimulation and — just as importantly — won’t escape and hurt neighbors.

India the tiger Transported to BBR
India the tiger was still just a cub when he was spotted wandering through residential neighborhoods in Texas, where he’d been dumped by his former “owner.” Credit: Humane Society

Thankfully, things could change soon as lawmakers are expected to vote on the Big Cat Public Safety Act, a rare bipartisan effort that would finally make it illegal to keep tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, pumas and other wildcats privately, whether in homes, businesses or non-accredited “zoos.”

Currently keeping big cats is illegal or severely restricted in most states, but like many things in the US, there’s a confusing patchwork of laws and things that would be unthinkable in other states are perfectly acceptable in places like Texas and Florida.

Because, you know, “muh freedoms.”

Now is a good time to point out that this blog has always been, and will remain, politically agnostic. I have my own political beliefs as any other person does, but PITB is a cat humor, news and advocacy blog, and the only politics we discuss here are those that relate to animal welfare. Equally important, Buddy and I want people of all political persuasions to feel comfortable as readers and commenters on PITB. (Although that could change if one or both political parties suddenly makes a move against the nation’s Strategic Turkey Supply. Then Buddy’s gonna have to get biblical.)

The Big Cat Safety Act is co-sponsored in congress by representatives Mike Quickly, D-IL, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-PA, and in the senate by senators Susan Collins, R-ME, Tom Carpenter, D-DE, Richard Burr, R-NC, and Richard Blumenthal, D-CT.

It’s endorsed by a wide range of groups, from the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums to the Humane Society and various bar associations. The proposed legislation also has the support of the White House, which released a statement this week urging its passage.

If your congressional representative or your senators aren’t publicly on board with the Big Cat Safety Act, you can make your voice heard via the Humane Society’s site, which allows you to draft and send letters to the offices of your lawmakers.

shallow focus photography of cheetah
Cheetahs, already critically endangered, have been almost entirely wiped out by poachers who sell their cubs on the illegal wildlife market. Credit: Magda Ehlers/Pexels