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Fake tiger sanctuary loses $166K on Safari scam; continues misappropriating funds 'for the tigers'

Brian Werner Ferris, owner of Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary - Tyler, TX has again begun utilizing nonprofit funds to support his for profit Tiger Creek Safari Resort business venture, while simultaneously claiming the sanctuary doesn’t have enough money to feed and care for the tigers and other animals at the facility.

The Tiger Creek Safari Resort is a Ponzi scheme started by Werner Ferris in 2015. Werner Ferris hired employees to sell timeshares for a planned resort near the sanctuary that was to include cabins, bungalows and spaces for RV camping, which was never completed. In Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary’s most recently available tax filings, the nonprofit sanctuary reported a loss of $166,515 to the for profit Tiger Creek Safari Resort.

Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary’s Director Emily Owen is Werner Ferris’ daughter. In 2018 Werner Ferris used nonprofit sanctuary funds to pay Emily’s husband $9,274 for dirt work/expansion for the Safari Resort, according to tax returns, but former employees say no other work was completed.

Yesterday, Tiger Creek Safari Resort made their first Facebook business post since 2017, announcing they are again utilizing nonprofit funds for dirt work/expansion. “Pond is almost completed,” their Facebook post said. The area of dirt work pictured in the post is the same area that the sanctuary has previously paid to have dirt moved.

"I find it extremely frustrating to see donor’s hard earned money being spent on moving some dirt around," a former sanctuary employee said. "This 'almost completed' pond isn’t even on the same land as the animals.”

In the meantime, an on site veterinary center started at the sanctuary in 2015 has not been completed and the sanctuary is fundraising for a new enclosure for Sitaara the tiger cub that was 'rescued' by the sanctuary in Dec. 2020.

In a Jan. 29 email to donors, Emily said, “We are still trying to get back on our feet financially. With so many expenses to care for so many animals… we need your help!”

Former sanctuary employees say the donations that Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary receives should be going to the care of the animals, rather than being utilized to fund Werner Ferris’ for profit business ventures.

“I don’t see how they can justify this when the Safari Resort has never amounted to anything in the past,” a former employee said. “It’s definitely a waste of money that could have been spent on the animals."


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