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'They would roar and roar': Grand Bend residents glad to see exotic animals ordered out
LONDON, ONT. -- Some residents of Grand Bend are saying 'good riddance', as the deadline comes for exotic animals to be removed from a local animal retreat.
"At night it was unbelievable. They would roar and roar," said resident Wendy Mawsen, who lives behind the Roaring Cat Retreat.
The roadside zoo has been home to dozens of exotic animals, including several lions, and various other large cats. Following a legal battle with the municipality of Lambton Shores, a court has ordered that they be removed by June 2nd.
Mawsen said she believes it’s for the best.
"One evening they had two out on the road. They got out, back in March or April. And they came down the side-road, the cats. And I came home one day, there was a big lama standing in my driveway, and it walked down to my neighbours, not these neighbours but the next neighbours and they had a pig in the back yard and a bunch of things."
Neighbour Dan Mudge said there have been several escapes, luckily by some of the less dangerous animals. But that doesn’t give him any comfort.
"It’s pretty unnerving when they’re roaring. When you can come out your back door and I can come over and see the four kids living next to me and the cats start roaring they run into the house."
The property is the former Pine Ridge Zoo. Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber said it was rezoned to residential about seven years ago.
"It doesn’t fit in the community, it doesn’t fit in the neighbourhood. What was there 40 years ago... times change. The zoning has changed. The neighbourhood has built up, and the property was changed to residential."
The Roaring Cat Retreat owners, Mark and Tammy Drysdale, told CTV News they’re trying to make arrangements for the animals, but ultimately they hope to have the order reversed.
"Our ultimate goal would be to have our animals back home," said Tammy Drysdale. "That’s what we’re hopeful for, that we can have our animals back home with us."
Meanwhile, neighbours CTV News spoke with all said they feel for the animals, but Wendy Mawsen added that they’ll feel a lot better when they’re gone.
"When they got out over there, I mean they were just little ones, but they’re still lions."