Rescue One

Last summer, Bobbi Brink, the director of Lions, Tigers and Bears, invited my husband, Paul, and me to see a facility in Ohio about an hour from our home where she was rehoming all the animals.

An outdoor enclosure at Rescue One.  The animals who lived here had already been moved when we visited.

An outdoor enclosure at Rescue One. The animals who lived here had already been moved when we visited.

At its height, Rescue One held more than 30 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other dangerous wild animals.  Most of them had been rescued from situations of abuse or neglect, or given up by owners who had bought the animals as cubs and could not handle them once they grew up.

It costs about $10,000 a year to house and feed a tiger, and over time Rescue One had been stretched far past its financial capacity.  They fed their carnivores with animal carcasses from farms in the area or road kill, and they paid their bills in part through proceeds from bingo games.

Indoor enclosure. Rescue One volunteer's face blurred for anonymity.

Indoor enclosure. Rescue One volunteer’s face blurred for anonymity.

Last year Rescue One’s owner, Angela Harter, called the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries seeking help.  After Ohio passed a law regulating ownership of exotic animals, she would be required to considerably upgrade her facilities, which she didn’t have the money to do.

GFAS sent Bobbi to take stock of the situation.  Bobbi not only found accredited sanctuaries to take the animals, but arranged teams to sedate and transport them.  Because no one facility could take all the animals, multiple transport trips, most of them across the country, had to be arranged.

Such trips are extremely expensive.  Veterinary personnel must be on hand, drivers have to be hired, and the large trucks are climate controlled and use a lot of gas.  Financially underwriting this endeavor were International Fund for Animal Welfare and Humane Society of the United States.

A lion watched our every move from his indoor enclosure.

A lion watched our every move from his indoor enclosure. Yes, we were that close.

Transfer of the animals was even more complicated than usual at Rescue One.  Accredited facilities build animal enclosures to certain regulations.  One of these is that when the animal needs to be moved, keepers can line up a transport cage against a door to the enclosure.  Then the door can be opened and the animal can walk into the transport cage.  From there the animal can be loaded safely onto the truck.

That’s not how it went at Rescue One.  Because finances were very tight, Angela’s husband, David Cziraky, had to be creative in finding materials to build the enclosures, and they were not built to these specifications.  There were no regulation-size doors to the enclosures, so when it came time to move the animals, they had to be sedated and carried out by a team of handlers.  This added to the expense as well as the risk in moving them.

Sugar Bear's enclosure at Rescue One.  He now lives at Lions, Tigers and Bears.

Sugar Bear’s enclosure at Rescue One. He now lives at Lions, Tigers and Bears.

Rescue One is an example of how Ohio owes Bobbi Brink and Lions, Tigers and Bears a debt of gratitude.  Angela Harter and David Cziraky did the best they could to take care of so many exotic animals, but in the end needed help.  Bobbi and LTB provided that help, and now those animals are in good homes.

Rescue One was featured in an episode of Animal Intervention, the Animal Planet show with Alison Eastwood, filmed several months before Bobbi flew out to help.  You can see an excerpt in which David Cziraky talks about feeding the animals at

You can also see the LTB page for Sugar Bear, who came from Rescue One and found his home at Lions, Tigers and Bears –

Day 6 Swim Report

Number of laps: 50
Time: 85 minutes
Pace: Somewhat slow

I took yesterday off because I was ahead of schedule and needed a break both physically and to catch up on a lot of things at work.  Today I was back at it and needed the swim.  I had planned for 45 laps but ended up doing 50.  This will come in handy later for that last 0.2 miles of the marathon.


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