CALEDONIA, Miss. (WJTV) – The goal of the staff at Cedar Hill Animal Sanctuary in Caledonia is to create a happy place for animals that have been brought to them.
The sanctuary has been getting a lot of attention recently after Netflix released the documentary series “Tiger King.”
Nancy Gschwendtner, who is the executive director of Cedar Hill Animal Sanctuary, said characters like Joe Exotic and Doc Antle are just a few bad apples out of hundreds of people that work in their industry.
“Most of us are not like that,” Gschwendtner explained. “Most of us are here for the right reasons. These animals, they don’t have a voice. And after everything that humans do to them, we really just try to give them a space that’s their space.”
One of the main things that sets Cedar Hill apart is that no one, not even staff, are allowed to come into contact with the animals. General Manager Dawn Brock said many of their animals have come from circuses, zoos and irresponsible owners.
“We have no hands on contact with them whatsoever,” Brock explained. “People had them as pets at home. They started off having them as cute little cubs, cute little bobcats that they wanna keep in their house. And then they start growing and growing, and they start tearing things up because they’re big tigers and lions. So, they have to find places like this to go because they just can’t care for them anymore.”
Therefore, touching them could be problematic.
“We have double fences for each and every one of our exotics to keep us safe, to keep the public safe and to keep them safe from the public,” Brock added.
Gschwendtner explained that loving these animals is easy, but that caring for them is quite the opposite.
“To run Cedar Hill each month, it costs about $50,000,” Gschwendtner said.
This sanctuary is a non-profit organization, and the coronavirus pandemic has caused donations to decrease. They’re asking for people to help fill in the gaps.
“We don’t profit from our animals,” Gschwendtner said. “We truly use every penny that comes into this sanctuary to better the lives of all of these animals.”
And they can’t do it alone. If you would like to make a financial contribution to the sanctuary, visit their website.