Lori Ensign-Scroggins, owner of Safari’s, posted a long essay titled “Retirement” on Facebook last night (Sunday, March 3, 2013), bemoaning her past and current plights, pointing fingers at a long list of others for her problems (as usual), and hoping someone will come save the day for her—even if only with a few bucks.
Copied below are excerpts of what she actually posted and below each section, is some of the background knowledge I have from my personal experience of working at Safari’s with Lori, for ten years–on and off, beginning in 2001. [The full text of her FB posted–also reposted on Craigslist advertising for volunteers–is at the end of this post, below.]
After reading this (and other posts on this page), you might be less likely to give her your money because of her sad story. – Ivy Cook
Lori Ensign-Scroggins: “Doctor told me to quit working so much, and get a hobby, to help me relax. So I sold the city life, moved to the country in Broken Arrow. My hobby was animals, thought rescue would give me peace.”
Ivy Cook: “As far as I know, she married a man that was getting into having exotics as pets. With the help of local sanctuaries, they decided to open the park up to the public. Then, apparently, jealousy hit Lori hard because the media loved her husband’s face and his wisdom and tended to ignore her. The relationship became rocky, and she ended up divorcing that husband and taking half of the animals, while spreading horrible lies about him, with the likely intent of wanting the public to stay on her side and not on his. That is the real story of how she got involved with animals.”
LES: “I dove in head first, years passed by, but it was never peace, always a fight. But not ever a fight by the animals, but the humans. My mission didnt allow me to live a life too… people would get mad… so I lost friends. Then I tried to just have animal people friends,….some were friends, some just wanted to tag along, some just wanted to dissect everything I did wrong. SO I lost those friends. Didnt look back, kept going, the animals will always love me,didnt care about the non friends… take me or leave me….”
IC: “She lost friends because she led a wild life–lots of partying, drinking, and drugs. I can personally tell you that there was one party at the park where she promised me that there would be no children there, because adults would be drinking. Come to find out, she invited every teenager she could and supplied them with their own liquor! The next morning they were found drunk all over the park. Lori’s own father was beyond upset finding the children and the booze and used condoms everywhere. Children from the ages of 12 and up! She lost friends because of the poor decisions she made in how she ran the park and how she often treated people badly and told lies about them after the friendship or working relationship ended.
LES: “You know the animals, while in my care, are fat, happy, spoilt, never want for anything.”
IC: “As you have seen from your own eyes from pictures we have showed you, there are a lot of sick and unhealthy animals out there, due to poor diet and inadequate veterinary care. Though yes, some are morbidly overweight, we still cannot figure out why some are starved or in poor health, while others are lavished upon. I do know that animals have died because Lori refused to call the vet when they became gravely ill.
I could copy and paste her words about how the USDA kept messing with her, and if you care to read them, go ahead. I will simply tell you how it was. In 2001, I and another woman named Debra were hired as zookeepers at Safari’s, after answering a classified ad in the Tulsa World. In our training, we were both informed never to talk to USDA inspectors if they were ever to come to the park, or just ignore them if they were at the gate. Yes, there were repeat offenses, and some work was done to fix those problems, but never a decent and correct fix–always what was able just to get by. The USDA officers are licensed veterinarians. They know what to look for, and how to care for animals. Lori was not shut down because “she was a woman” as she stated. She wasn’t being picked on, they gave her YEARS…let me say that again…Y-E-A-R-S…..to fix all the problems the USDA officers found wrong at her park, and she refused to fix them properly. You can read in the USDA reports yourself where the officer would put “can see they are trying to work on this problem” but in the next report in a couple of months, they had stopped all work on that project. Because as we were told “as long as it looks like we are trying to fix it, they can’t say anything.” Lori got shut down because her park is falling apart, because the animals are sick and dying, because it is not safe for the public to be there, and because it’s not safe for anyone to be there, as we all found out when the manager Kurt Beckelman allowed for his own employee to get mauled by a liger back in 2008. That employee, Peter Getz, passed away from the traumatic wounds that were inflicted. Kurt Beckelman and Lori Ensign both LIED about what happened that day. You know why I know they lied about that day? Because I was there. I was the USDA’s main witness to help the USDA shut Safari’s down to the public. Why? I could not live with myself if I did nothing to prevent someone else from getting hurt. It became obvious, after many attempts to get things to change—to make the park safer for animals and the people who work there and visit—that Lori would never change. The recent photos we posted on this page of staff inside the cages of tigers and other large predator cats during feeding time is evidence that I was right in that assessment. Even a wrongful death at the park did nothing to change attitudes toward safety.
LES: “Here we are. I’m out of my savings, Safari’s is out of its winter donations, with no clue of when they can get their license.”
IC: It is all but impossible for a zoo/sanctuary to regain their USDA license after they have lost it. I have yet to find one place that was able to open back up to the public, because by the time the USDA shuts them down, it is too far gone and too many repairs are needed to be made which would require a fortune to be spent on it to get it back up to standards. Hence the reason the USDA gives them ample chances to fix problems and years to try and bring their park up to code. With Lori still connected to the management of Safari’s and living on the premises, it will never be run correctly or safely. It is in the best interests of the public that it remains closed until if and when another owner completely takes over the park and its animals.
Full text can be found in the posting Lori did on Craigslist:
This is my story, the ups and downs, but the real story of Safaris. You dont care about any other part really.
I was diagnosed with MS in 1995, working many jobs which allowed me to buy land and a home, new car, etc… But my many jobs which made me $$$ also exhausted my body… hence M.S. took over. Doctor told me to quit working so much, and get a hobby, to help me relax. So I sold the city life, moved to the country in Broken Arrow. My hobby was animals, thought rescue would give me peace.
I dove in head first, years passed by, but it was never peace, always a fight. But not ever a fight by the animals, but the humans. My mission didnt allow me to live a life too… people would get mad… so I lost friends. Then I tried to just have animal people friends,….some were friends, some just wanted to tag along, some just wanted to dissect everything I did wrong. SO I lost those friends. Didnt look back, kept going, the animals will always love me,didnt care about the non friends… take me or leave me….
So I just continued on…. finally finding a real man, that loved me. But he wasnt really into my hobby…. I kept him, cherished him, and we had 2 lives, me and safari —and me n my hubby… I couldnt hold that against him. But others did, so I lost more friends…. Kept going, very happy with having the animals love and having his love. But working so hard still to keep my hobby going… now the hobby that had rescued me and saved my life, now was wearing on my body and the MS started taking a stonger pesence. You know the animals, while in my care, are fat, happy, spoilt, never want for anything. Actually becoming old lions and tigers like me. While I feel I’m doing everything right by the animals, my soul, then the government starts a battle. My inspector, was a country boy, who always told me that “a woman could never run a zoo”, “just wont work”….. the stubborn, competitive part of ME, says… woah woah woah, I will show you! And I fought and argued with this man for 10 or so years…. he would come and just find things wrong, stupid things –mind you I made some mistakes, so YES a few writeups did need correcting, rebuilding cages, concreting floors, and I did…. but he still kept coming making sure I could never get a clean inspection. Started with weeds in a behind the zoo stuff, junk yard area, ok so I mowed…. but he never removed the writeup, even if corrected. Then rust on a fence, painted, still there…. then flies on produce received on a hot summer day, fixed it, we got more refrigerators, put away…. still the excess was there in dumpster waiting for pickup —oops still flies… I really got frustrated at the lack of concern, becoming harassment. I went off on him, wasnt nice, I admit, but I had taken all I could possibly take. Thought I’ll write to the USDA, and complain, invite them to come out, see the progress, and see that this is wrong. WELLLL you dont talk common sense to an organization without it. The USDA then started an investigation against me, trying to close me, because I was rude to their senior inspector —not even noting the harassment, sexual commenets….. I said OK, I’ll still fight. They made it rediculous. Dragging it out for years, I finally got an atty who offered to help me take em to court…. thinking we would get somewhere, I went with it, wrote pages and pages, books… on the writeups, and what really happened. So here we come onto court date, its been years weighing on me… Finally! I’m nervous but excited to get to tell my story. 3 days before date, the atty calls with we’re (he wasnt ready) not ready, he hadn’t met with any of my allies, my veterinarian, my game wardens, my people who knew what a great place we have…. just told me nothing good could come of court without proper statements from these people, and he had had family issues, where he hadnt had time to do this… another continuance was unacceptable…blablabla. Basically go to court and get hundreds of thousands in fines$$$$$ or give up my license. Sell or give the organization to my crew of interns…. With my declining health, I thougt, OK this could work. He sold me on this idea…. give or sell my zoo… so it can continue. Because if I was fined $250,000…. I would have to give up anyway, then Lord knows where the animals would go.
I gave up my license…. met with the interns, who seemed to be all excited on the opportunity. Made a deal to give them the organization, if they would put in the time, work, training….etc. I would retire, just keep my house until they made enough to buy my house… otherwise everything else was theirs. Stressed to them that it would not be easy, and never “make money” , but it was a work of the heart… enough to get by, and knowing that you’re saving lives, and educating kids, makes up for the riches… It was a plan…. I saved all year for the down time, while they got up to speed. But this generation of kids don’t really want to work…. they want to say I’m President of this Sanctuary, but I only wanna work 4-5 days a week, be off by 2pm, then ush to be off by 12 noon… and think they can do it all. Then we lost 2 of our 3 interns; one in a couple months -she worked hard for a couple months -then she wanted me to turn all my property over to her…. after 2 months. NO. So then down to 2, next girl made it couple more months… then wanted more time off, wanted to be the only TV personality, wanted pople to only talk to her, as she worked less and less…. so that didnt work. Now Im down to 1. She is working her butt off, but cannot do it alone… there are others who advise, and a family of hard workers with health problems, so they cannot stay….
Here we are. Im out of my savings, Safaris is out of its winter donations, with no clue of when they can get their license.
Do I wait on them to survive or fail? and let things go potentially down hill? Do I put it on the market, and see if there is a buyer with a family who can run this and reopen? Do I sell off animals one by one, and pray they go to loving places?
Now my hands are tied. I’m disabled. But feeling this mission of rescue is a heart felt necessity for people to see what PEOPLE are doing to our wildlife. These animals have no option of release to the wild. They expect room service, meals, playtime…. do not know how to live. Most have been altered to where they could not, even if they were trained to be wild, exist….declawed, neutered, defanged…
My heart and prayers tell me “something will come along” and take over. Or a buyer. Or …..
SOooooo here I am, praying for small donations to keep them fed….. knowing one month it wont be there. THEN WHAT?
Do you want to have a zoo? I have a crew to help you. OR Do you need tax write off so that our new crew can continue till they can open?
Do you want to just volunteer and help that way? <> This stress is just making me more and more disabled…. I want to help, but if the stress keeps on, I’ll be in wheelchair soon… and cant help at all.
DO YOU KNOW of anyone ??? Any corporation that would want the sponsorship, or an animal loving family wants the investment for a life of working what you love? Tell everyone and anyone you know…. and maybe someone might want to help. Some way, any way, small, large, take over….buy it…
I do not think this mission should be lost…. people are still out there buying these animals, with no idea what they are getting into. The education still needs to be out there!!! The place for these animals to go still needs to be out there!! Otherwise the breeding, ignorantly buying, then getting rid of them –will end up with all these innocent, misplaced animals killed! Please HELP. SHARE this message. Call us 918-357-5683
See original post and the photos and other documents attached to it, on Safari’s Truth Destination page on Facebook: