Just days after a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report was released that outlined allegations of animal medical neglect at Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary, Tyler, TX, owner Brian Werner Ferris listed his Tiger Creek Safari Clubhouse and 10 acres of land for sale. He also removed his Tiger Creek Safari Resort page from Facebook.
On June 1, Roadside Zoo News released an article outlining an April 2021 USDA inspection at Tiger Creek Sanctuary. The facility was cited for two non-critical violations and a critical violation of the Animal Welfare Act. The critical violation was for 11 animals that went without medical care.
“All 11 of the deceased animals showed clinical signs for weeks, sometimes months, without being examined by a veterinarian,” the report said.
On June 3, the USDA did another inspection of Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary. That same day, the Tiger Creek Safari Clubhouse and one acre of land was listed for sale for $499,500. Another listing advertises 7.312 acres of land for $262,500 and a third listing offers 1.3 acres for $49,800.
The Safari Clubhouse and the surrounding land are part of Werner Ferris’ failed Tiger Creek Safari Resort scheme which was started 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.
The Safari Resort was never completed. Instead, Tiger Creek Sanctuary began to pay a company to move dirt around on the land every few years, so that it would appear that work was still in progress.
In 2018, Werner Ferris faced a lawsuit over his failed Safari Resort, alleging fraud. That same year, the nonprofit animal sanctuary reported a loss of $166,515 to the for profit Safari Resort.
The Safari Clubhouse and surrounding property is owned by Werner Ferris, but former sanctuary board members said Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary has been paying the mortgage and lease of the property.
Tiger Creek Sanctuary spends more than $800,000 per year on fundraising, printing and direct mailing to donors, according to IRS records. Werner Ferris announced on Facebook that the sanctuary had already received $65,437 in donations in the first week of June.
Although Werner Ferris claims the sanctuary doesn’t have financial issues, former employees say an on site veterinary center that was started in 2015 has not been completed. Tiger Creek Sanctuary is also fundraising for a new enclosure for a tiger named Sitaara and for three bears they plan to bring in.
Former Tiger Creek Sanctuary employees worry that any money earned from the sale of the Safari Clubhouse and property will be embezzled.
“It sure would be nice for that money to get put into the sanctuary,” a former employee said. “Maybe they could get that veterinary center done and actually upkeep the enclosures that are falling apart.”