After lion, deer mishaps, Pasco sanctuary out to prove it is saf - WFLA News Channel 8

After lion, deer mishaps, Pasco sanctuary out to prove it is safe

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The Survival Outreach Sanctuary is in Pasco County. The Survival Outreach Sanctuary is in Pasco County.
The Survival Outreach Sanctuary is in Pasco County The Survival Outreach Sanctuary is in Pasco County
The Survival Outreach Sanctuary is in Pasco County The Survival Outreach Sanctuary is in Pasco County
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

For years, Judy Watson says, she operated under the radar. The founder and owner of the Survival Outreach Sanctuary says few people even knew the Pasco County facility existed.

Fast forward to January of 2014. A lion named Savannah escaped from her habitat. The exotic animal never left the sanctuary grounds, but did cause quite the havoc. Then, days later, a deer attacked Watson's sister. The deer has been removed, and her sister is recovering.

Following the two incidents, volunteers have been working nonstop to make improvements to prevent future mishaps.

"Now we also have to build a lockdown so we can put her (Savannah) in there in a small area and then we can come in here an make any kind of corrections that need to be made. There's always something to fix," said Watson, adding that volunteers also dug a ditch around the habitat and built a concrete footing to prevent Savannah from tunneling out again.

Those incidents prompted Watson to introduce Family Days at the sanctuary. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on March 22 and March 23, families can experience the sanctuary for themselves. Watson is asking for a $10 per car donation.

She says once the public experiences the facility first hand, they will understand it is safe and secure. "Hoping this will dispel any fears that people have," said Watson. "That we are safe. "

Despite the two incidents so close together, Watson says she never contemplated throwing in the towel.

"I can't just quit. I have a responsibility that I've taken on. I can't just say I don't want to do this anymore and just walk away. What about the rest of the animals that depend on us for food every day and to have a good healthy clean environment?"

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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