DD Animal House Holds Open House
COLUMBIA - The DD Animal Sanctuary opens to the public just eight hours of the year.
Sunday, the sanctuary held an open house to show off their farm and the variety of animals that live there.
From lions and tigers to parrots and chickens, 250 different types of animals live at the DD Sanctuary.
For 18 years they have rescued and rehabilitated all animals native to Missouri.
When the animals are healthy or old enough they are released into the wild, but more and more exotic animals are in need of special care.
"Unfortunately a lot of them, their lives are either ended at that time or they get dumped somewhere," said owner, Dale Tolentino.
Lions and tigers live to be 18-20 twenty years old in captivity. Tolentino and his wife say the animals are like children to them.
"My wife and I care for them like they are our children. But we understand they are wild animals and we respect them for that. We try to do what we think we right for the animals, and we respect them. We do love them, no question about that," said Tolentino.
But love doesn't cover the cost to feed or care for the animals.
"Expense is everything that we make. We do not have money in the bank, literally. It takes everything we make to keep this place going," Tolentino said.
The DD sanctuary opens up twice a year to hold fundraisers, but is otherwise closed to the public.
"This is definitely not a zoo. The idea is to not make it a zoo. This is their place. A true sanctuary," said Tolentino.
The exotic animals will spend the rest of their lives here, DD Sanctuary is their permanent home.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers lions and tigers too dangerous to handle after 18 weeks of age. Businesses who use animals for television commercials, appearances, and shows get rids of the animals once they hit 18 weeks.
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