Abused lions, tigers recovering at NJ zoo

August 12, 2011 3:17:30 PM PDT
A lion, a tiger and five cougars have been rescued from a farm in Texas and are now being cared for at the Popcork Park Zoo in Lacey Township, New Jersey.

The big cats were found in squalid conditions. The Humane Society says the animals were confined to horse stalls and cages without clean water. They were surrounded by waste, debris and even the skeletons of other animals that died.

One of the lions, Porthos, has serious dental problems that need work. Taj the Bengal tiger is often scared and hides under a bench. Lance the cougar has trouble with his legs.

? "At one time in his life he had two back legs broken and it was never taken care of properly, so now he doesn't walk very well," said Corey Kuus of the Popcorn Park Zoo, which is caring for the cats.

It may take a while for these big cats to acclimate to their new home but, zoo officials say, one thing is for sure - they will never be exposed again to the abuse and neglect they suffered before.?

"The day they come through these gates there is no past, there's only a future here for them. Every day they get cleaned, fresh water, fresh food no matter what," said Theresa Rutan of the Popcorn Park Zoo.

? Popcorn Park Zoo is a non-profit sanctuary for injured, abandoned and abused animals financed entirely by donations.

"It's brilliant they've got a place like this to come to. Some of the animals you can see have injuries. They're still here, they're happy and enjoying their life now," said Kate Burgess of Robbinsville.

"They're not being mistreated anymore. It's a safe spot for them to be," said Sally Cooper of Plainsboro.

? And it's a wonderful place to bring the kids to see the big new cats along with all the other animals here.

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RELATED: Popcorn Park Zoo

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