An Open Letter to the The Wildcat Sanctuary Board of Directors

 To Gail Plewacki and the rest of the TWS Board of Directors,

As recent news articles and broadcasts have indicated, there have been allegations brought against The Wildcat Sanctuary that have caused a great deal of concern among volunteers, donors, and the general public. As this topic continues to evolve, I have questions that must be answered before I can, in good conscience, continue to support the organization. These questions focus on the management of the Sanctuary, specifically as it pertains to how leadership is selected, how issues are handled, and how we have come to this situation.

I have been a dedicated volunteer with the Sanctuary since February 2010. From the beginning, I became as involved as I possibly could because I supported the stated mission to provide a safe haven for exotic cats, most of whom have been purchased and raised by private owners who could not support the needs of such large and complex animals. 

My involvement has included Awareness and Outreach events, print and web design support, gift shop product creation, Domestic Animal Care support, enclosure building, Crisis Communication team on-site support, recruitment of new volunteers, and promoting the Sanctuary with my car by being part of the Tiger Fleet. I have seen firsthand the amazing care that is given to each and every animal. All of the residents have the respect they deserve after starting their lives with countless challenges. 

All of that being said, I have been extremely dissatisfied with how the leadership has handled this situation and I require answers to the following questions:

  • Are the results of the independent investigation available to the public? What were the specific allegations brought against the Sanctuary and how does the evidence support your public stance? 
  • What is the explanation for the rapid turn-over of board members over the past year? Almost the entire board has changed in the past 12 months and former board members have completely removed themselves from the organization.
  • What is the process for nominating and appointing new board members? Having been a volunteer for three years, I have never been aware of open positions, opportunities for nomination, voting arrangements or qualifications of current or potential members.
  • Are board meetings open to the public, and are agendas posted in advance to provide the opportunity for volunteers and donors to be involved?
  • After the snow crisis that occurred in late April, the Sanctuary claimed that “Approximately $100,000" in damages were sustained. As one of the volunteers that were the first to respond to the crisis, I helped repair many enclosures so that they could continue to be used by residents. Over two weeks, we restored at least 7 permanent enclosures and the quarantine enclosure to functional status. These repairs were made using many of the supplies that were already on hand. Very little had to be rebuilt from the ground up. How did the organization come to the $100,000 amount, how much was actually raised, and what specifically were those funds used for?

Volunteers, donors, and concerned citizens deserve transparency on these issues and your recent responses have lacked the detail needed to earn my trust back. 

Thank you and I look forward to your timely response,

Katherine Block

Follow up Information: 

Anyone with concerns is encouraged to contact the office of the MN Attorney General (651) 296-3353 or 1-800-657-3787.