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at a glance
•To learn more information on the Buy a Brick program, or anything about Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, go to
Black Pine Animal Sanctuary recently welcomed Top Cat, a male Sumatran tiger, and Millie, a female Indo-Chinese tiger, and a bobcat to its collection of animals, bringing its total to 100.

Black Pine welcomes 3 new cats

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.

The Black Pine Animal Sanctuary family is celebrating its newest residents – two young tigers and a 10-year-old bobcat – topping out the number of inhabitants at 100.

Black Pine’s director, Lori Gagen, said the sanctuary’s population typically tops out in the high 80s, but generous donations in recent years have given the population a boost.

Gagen said Black Pine turns away at least 100 animals each year because they don’t have enough resources available.

“There’s a never-ending supply of animals that need a permanent home,” she said.

In early September, Black Pine welcomed Top Cat and Millie – 3-year-old tigers who joined the sanctuary from a small zoo in western Ohio.

Gagen said she learned about the tigers in mid-June when their owner contacted Black Pine and explained that because of changes to Ohio laws, he would need to reduce the number of animals in his Ohio zoo.

The new laws will require owners of “dangerous animals” to pay for liability insurance coverage, licensing fees and microchipping, Gagen said.

“His challenge was financial. He knew he was going to have a lot of issues on his hands (with the changes to Ohio law),” she said. “The tigers weren’t in a bad situation there, but he needed to comply with the new laws.”

Top Cat is a Sumatran tiger, and Millie is an Indo-Chinese tiger. Both were given refuge in Ohio after being surrendered by a private owner in Michigan.

Top Cat was neutered when the tigers arrived at Black Pine and had to be separated until Thursday when the tigers were reunited, Gagen said.

Both are in a temporary holding facility until two more wooded habitats can be completed. The cost to complete the new habitats, which will include in-ground pools for the tigers, is $30,000.

Thunder, a 10-year-old bobcat, also recently joined the Black Pine family as the sanctuary’s 100th resident.

The 52-pound bobcat was living with private owners who struggled to pay for the cat’s ongoing needs. He had been living in the family’s home, but after marking his territory, was relocated to an outdoor home.

Thunder will now live next door to Walter and O’Malley, two other male bobcats at Black Pine.

Facility upgrades

Black Pine also has plans in the works for a more than $100,000 building project that will create an indoor area for visitors – especially when bad weather strikes.

The new Family Resource Center would house meeting rooms for educational groups and board meetings, while leaving space for an indoor gift shop and refreshment area. Currently, the only space for meetings and group discussions is an outdoor pavilion with picnic tables, Gagen said.

“Especially when there’s inclement weather, this would provide us the space we need,” she said.

Black Pine will also continue the Buy a Brick project to help with the costs of the new space and to support the sanctuary. Bricks are available in 4-by-8 inch blocks for $50, or 8-by-8-inch squares for $100.