The dark clouds that gathered above the Lion’s Gate Sanctuary foretold of a tragedy much worse than the floodwaters they delivered in mid April.
Whatever options Joan Laub, a psycologist, and partner, Peter Winney, a lion and tiger handler with a string of license violations, deliberated on in the case for protecting the 11 animals at their sanctuary were, the conclusion of that debate was the killing of each one. In all, five bears, three lions lions and three tigers were euthanized on April 20.
As one of a handful of licensed big cat sanctuaries in Colorado, the 42-acre Lion’s Gate played an important role in protecting the animals that came to the facility, and had successfully done so for more than 40 cats in the last decade. However, being located on a flood plain has plagued the sanctuary with problems, year after year.
According to the Washington Post, Laub and Winney, who took over the sanctuary in 2007, have acknowledged their desire to move their animals to a facility on higher ground. Lacking the resources to make that happen, they even ran a fundraising campaign on loveanimals.org, which fell far short of its $50,000 goal, raising only $45.