Why Were 11 Exotic Animals Euthanized At A Colorado Wild Animal Sanctuary?

Lion’s Gate Wild Animal Sanctuary

Horrifically, on April 20, 2017, Lions Gate Wild Animal Sanctuary euthanized three lions, three tigers and five bears, all of its remaining animals, after its relocation request was denied.

According to the Denver Post, owners Laub and Peter Winney felt forced to do so following a unanimous vote by the Elbert County Board of commissioners to deny the sanctuary its bid to move to a new location.

The sanctuary claimed the need to move was based on its current property experiencing recurring flooding that made it unsafe.

“The ongoing flooding, damage, and future risks prevents us from reasonably continuing our operation and caring for our animals at the present location,” said Laub in a statement to Denver7.

Referring to what tragically became a life or death decision, Commissioner Grant Thayer said the vote to deny the sanctuary a special-use permit was made because the commissioners “felt that the community impact would be best served if it was denied.”

It was the second time the sanctuary unsuccessfully petitioned a move; with the first request being denied in 2006.

According to reports, people living near the relocation site in Elizabeth, had long opposed the move, citing that it was inappropriate “for a rural neighborhood mostly known for an equine lifestyle.”

The Denver Post

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department told Denver7 that officials were aware that the animals were killed and buried on the property but that no regulations were violated.

Though there are differing opinions about the heartbreaking outcome, the sanctuary insisted they tried everything possible to save the animals.

A Facebook post on Lion’s Gate Sanctuary page, which described the Winneys as “completely devastated” stated that the owners “have sacrificed so much that very few people in the world would, to keep the animals happy and healthy.”


It also pointed out that it is the county commissioners who should be under fire, not the owners, because they “knowingly sentenced the animals to death.”

“I’m just really surprised that they did that,” said Pat Craig, the founder and executive director of the Wildlife Sanctuary in Keenesburg; the state’s largest with 450 animals. “I can guarantee you that a lot of organizations would be glad to help.”

WAN visited the website of the sanctuary that billed itself as “A Safe Haven for Wild Animals,” but received a message that the account had been suspended.

This is very sad for the animals and sanctuary owners as this tragedy could have been prevented.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

More on this topic

Popular stories

The U.S. Forest Service Is Planning On Rounding Up California’s Wild Horses & Then Selling Them For Slaughter; This Must End!

Photo by American Wild Horse Campaign Last week, California Attorney General Anthony Becerra joined a growing list of California elected officials who have spoken out...

Breaking! Animal Welfare Coalition Revels In Milestone Moment As Indonesian Government Agrees To Ban Barbaric Dog & Cat Meat Trade

Photos from Dog Meat Free Indonesia With an estimated 1,200 dogs being slaughtered and consumed every day by people in Surakarta, Central Java, it is...

Sad News! Beloved Galgamuwe Tusker’s Carcass Discovered In Sri Lanka After The Elephant Was Suspected Being Poached For It’s Ivory

The carcass of an elephant believed to be tusker ‘Galgamuwe Dala Poottuwa’ was sadly recovered this afternoon by the Special Task Force (STF) inside the Kahalla-Pallekele...