Forced to choose between higher taxes and shutting down a sanctuary for native animals, the citizens of Carson City, Nev., did the human thing: They protected their pocketbooks.
As a result, about 20 animals at the former Great Basin Wildlife Center in Carson City became homeless. Though wildlife officials were able to place most of them, two ornery cougars, a frisky bobcat and a bear were among those left behind.
This week, the stranded predators found a new home at the Wildlife Waystation, a large haven for abused and abandoned animals located in Angeles National Forest north of Lake View Terrace.
"They're all in wonderful shape," said way station director and founder Martine Colette of the newly arrived foursome. "For a change, it's not a case of neglect. It's a case of economics and policy."
Colette, who drove to Nevada to collect the animals Monday, said they will remain in quarantine for at least 30 days. During that time, enclosures will be built to house them.
The way station's newest wards join a family of more than 800 animals ranging the spectrum of species. Most were abandoned or neglected by their owners or injured in the wild.
The two cougars are sisters, both about 3 years old, and have not yet been named. With their addition, the way station is now home to 28 of the sleek, tawny cats.
The 10-year-old bobcat, Jingles, joins six others at the animal preserve.
The 9-year-old American black bear, named Teddy Bear, joins about 20 other bears.
"They all need sponsors," Colette said. "They need somebody good and kind to help take care of them."
An official from the Carson City wildlife center said the only animal left without a home is a mule deer. Colette said she is trying to arrange for the deer to be transported to the way station, too.
For information on how to help the animals, contact the Wildlife Waystation at (818) 899-5201.