Big Cats Have New Home At Popcorn Park

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FORKED RIVER — Who knows how long they languished in a poorly-managed Texas farm with a neglectful owner, some in small stalls, others imprisoned in outdoor cages, and all of them in horrid conditions, before being discovered by a nearby exotic sanctuary and eventually rescued by Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park, where they are now living in better conditions.

Porthos, a male lion with severe dental problems; Taj, a tailless tiger who lived her life in squalor after a raccoon was said to have bit her tail off when she was juvenile; four female cougars and one male cougar are now receiving the care at Popcorn Park.


“We’ll learn more about them as the days go by but from now on they will never want for clean water, proper diet, a clean den and big yards to play in,” said Popcorn Park General Manager John Bergmann.

Bergmann learned of the wild cats from Vickey Keahey, owner of InSync Exotics, an exotic cat sanctuary in Texas. She said she heard of some 20 big cats about 40 miles from her sanctuary whose owner had passed away. Their neglect had gone on long before the owner’s death.

They were living in horse stalls that appeared they had not been cleaned in years. Water was given to the animals in dirty buckets through a fence and food looked like it was just thrown in to the stalls. InSync staff cared for the animals every day until they were able to be transported to safe havens, like Popcorn Park.

Once Associated Humane Societies learned of the situation, room was made for seven of the cats at Popcorn Park. The cats were transported in a climate-controlled tractor-trailer from Texas.

“We waited on the edge of our seats and finally saw the transport pull in,” Bergmann said. “We couldn’t wait to open the doors and see our new family.”

“We knew we weren’t able to keep all 20 of these cats and we were so incredibly relieved to know that they will have such a wonderful home with (AHS/Popcorn Park),” said InSync Volunteer Coordinator Chemyn Reaney. “Our volunteers who went with the cats can’t seem to say enough wonderful things about the facility.”

All of the cats were examined, had blood tests completed and were vaccinated. Bergmann said that each day the cats are becoming more familiar and comfortable in their new surroundings. The seven cats join Popcorn Park’s other lions, tigers and cougars where they can be visited by the public during operating hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Animal lovers who would like to support these new residents can make a donation to Popcorn Park by logging on to

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