WYLIE -- Does having a tiger as a pet sound like a good idea? Despite what common sense should indicate, a lot of people think so, and when they realize the error of their ways, the animals can only hope they're lucky enough to end up at a sanctuary like In-Sync Exotics in Wylie.
"It's amazing how many people actually own these cats and then realize these are not pets and they're a lot to take care of," says lead keeper Emily Burkhead.
In-Sync Exotics specializes in exotic cats. Last week, they welcomed an addition to its compound, an 8-year-old white tiger named Gus who weighs around 450 pounds. He was surrendered by a private owner in southern Texas last week.
This is hardly an isolated incident as In-Sync Exotics houses more than 70 exotic cats that have come from places that were ill-equipped to handle them.
"Someone's backyard or in their house, there's no way they can live comfortably and actually have a good, quality life," says Burkhead. "Once we get them, we're going to be their forever home. We're going to give them the best life we can, feed them properly, give them lots of enrichment, lots of love, lots of attention that they need."
In 2014, the World Wildlife Fund reported there were more tigers in captivity in the United States than in the wild in the entire world, and not all of them were in zoos. People also keep lions, leopards, bobcats, and other animals that don't belong on a residential property; two of In-Sync Exotics' tigers were taken from a place that also had two bears living there.
While a sanctuary differs from a zoo, In-Sync Exotics does welcome the public to see its animals on weekends. It's a non-profit organization, so don't skimp on the donations for admission, as the animals depend on them!