Embattled wildcat rescue moving to Hillsboro - KPTV - FOX 12

Embattled wildcat rescue moving to Hillsboro

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

After a three year battle with Clackamas County over code violations, “A Walk on the Wild Side” exotic animal rescue is moving from Canby to Hillsboro.

Director Steve Higgs says they will lease the property at the McKay Creek Equestrian center off of Highway 26. Boarders will still be able to keep their horses there, but they’ll share the space with endangered tigers, lions, leopards and other exotic animals.

Higgs says they got tired of being unfairly targeted by Clackamas County officials.

“If they can’t get us one way, they come up with something else in Clackamas County that they go after us for,” said Higgs.

Speaking about one woman with code enforcement Higgs added, “she has an agenda where, I just believe she doesn’t like the fact that we have exotic animals.”

“A Walk on the Wild Side” is a federally licensed animal rescue through the USDA and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. But Clackamas County officials say they rescue violated codes for having occupied vehicles on the property permanently, improper fencing, tents and for allowing the public to visit.

The safety and security of the animals was never an issue, but Corinne Morris-Dimick is worried. She owns a ranch right next to the future site in Hillsboro and feels this is all happening too fast.

“I want them to make sure they have enough fencing and enough everything to support those animals,” said Morris-Dimick. “Making sure they’re not getting out and escaping. What I’d really like to see is that there’s permits in place to have these animals there – that it’s been thought out and that we’re not just going to get them crammed down our throat.”

Higgs wants his future neighbors to know that safety and preservation of the animals are his top priorities.

“We want them to know that we’ve been doing this for 25 years. We’ve never had an animal escape and we’ve never had a person hurt.”

Higgs hopes to have the animal enclosures constructed and all in the animals settled in to their new homes by early May. The rescue site won’t be open to the public every day, but individuals and groups can make appointments.

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