Cat Fight Loud Lions Upset Neighbors

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 2:12pm

Wildlife preserve owner says new noise ordnance targets her animals.



When you think about noise ordinances, car stereos and loud bars may come to mind, but Deborah Warrick says an ordinance Florida's St. Johns County Commissioners are talking about is focused on silencing her pet lion.

She says a group of neighbors has been complaining about his roar since 2008.

"He will roar, sometimes at night, but it never lasts more than 30 seconds," she says.

Warrick runs the St. Augustine Wild Reserve.

It's an exotic animal rescue mission that has dozens of abandoned tigers, panthers, wolves and even a couple of lions.

She moved the animals here in 2000.

"I was by the book," she say. "I told everyone I was moving in. I am properly licensed. I run a clean operation."

Warrick says the ordinance doesn't worry her.

It said animals who make noise for a period of 30 minutes would be in violation.

"Mufasa's roar lasts about 30 seconds," she insists.

She's worried she's being unfairly singled out.

A provision in the ordinance says public zoos and for-profit animal attractions are exempt from citation.

"But I am a non-profit," she explains. "I think it's clear they are trying to come after me."

Her non-profit status would make her subject to fines.

A spokesperson from St. Johns County said they are not picking on anyone, and the last thing they want to do is write a ton of tickets.

Nonetheless, Warrick says she's being threatened, and she's ready for a cat fight.

"I know my rights and I'm staying here; I like it here," she says.
 

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