EAGLE POINT, Ore. — The death of an employee at WildCat Haven in Sherwood is bringing to light the importance of security measures when it comes to wild animals.
Every animal sanctuary has different rules, but at the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary, staff have a specific two person safety system to protect both the animal and employee. Double fences…a special gate system…and verbal commands are just a few safety protocols this non-profit organization requires.
When it comes to federal rules by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are no check-ups on the safety system for animal sanctuaries. Several times a year, the USDA stops by wildcat animal centers like the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary for random checkups.Staff at the sanctuary are working to change rules at the federal level. They believe if inspection on safety measures on the basics of cleaning and feeding are set deaths or injuries can be prevented.
“Under USDA guidelines, they talk about minimal housing requirements, nutrition requirements, things like that, health of the animals, body weight — they do nothing to cover the safety of husbandry. So, we get inspected here but they never look at how do you clean, how do you feed,” said Robert Nagato-Needleman, an Oregon Tiger Sanctuary employee.
Since opening in 1991, Oregon Tiger Sanctuary has never had any major accidents or injuries with these cats.